Monday, 14 February 2000

Animal shelter's bid for survival

By Chang Ai-Lien, The Straits Times

Noah's Ark Lodge's tenancy agreement expires tomorrow. It will try to retain
its present Seletar site by taking part in PPD's next tender

   THE manager of animal sanctuary Noah's Ark Lodge will take part in the
Primary Production Department's (PPD) coming tender exercise, in the hope that
the shelter can stay on at its present site in Seletar.

   The current tenancy agreement on the land expires tomorrow.

   Mr Raymund Wee has also asked the PPD to allow the animals' home to remain at
the site for another three months, and the PPD says it is likely to approve
his request.

   Mr Wee, 51, made the request in a letter to the PPD on Thursday.

   A PPD spokesman told The Straits Times that it would call for tender for the
site at 81, Seletar West Farmway 5, by the end of this month.

   Results of the tender should be announced by April.

   "If he is not awarded the tender, then we are likely to approve his request
to stay on until May," he said.

   The site will be available only until Dec 31, 2002, when it will be needed
for redevelopment.

   The PPD spokesman added: "We would like to assure the public that PPD will
monitor the developments at the farm closely to ensure that all the animals
will be properly taken care of, and that their welfare is not compromised."

   Mr Wee was told that he could not continue to use the site, as he had for the
past seven years, because he had sublet it from another man, Mr Harry Quek,
who did not want to renew the tenancy agreement.

   In fact, Mr Quek had not been allowed to sublet the land.

   The lodge is home to many animals, including about 250 dogs and 200 cats.

   The wild animals and birds it had been sheltering were transferred to the
Singapore Zoological Gardens and Jurong BirdPark on Feb 2.

   The plight of the sanctuary struck a chord in many Singaporeans, who were
quick to volunteer their services, adopt animals and donate food and

   An online petition to stop the shelter from being closed brought about 50,000
signatures in three weeks, said Mr Wee.

   "It is heartening to see how many people really care for stray animals," he

Source: The Straits Times
Date: 14 February 2000