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Fri 17 Mar 2006

"God save the bears" reveals news of the WWF Office in Singapore

Category : news

In what seems almost symbolic, I first heard of the WWF office in Singapore when reading an account in Australia's The Daily Telegraph (via Singapore Surf) of a protest against the use of Canadian black bear pelts for the Grenadier Guards' ceremonial hats :

"[The protest] occurred hours before the Queen's husband Prince Philip was to attend the formal opening of environmental group WWF International's office in Singapore. He is the president emeritus of the organisation."

The protestor was an Aussie lass! The full text of this article is listed at the end of this post.

I then found news of the launch at the WWF webpage:

"The new WWF Singapore office will provide a hub to support WWF's programmes across the region, and will enable programme-led partnerships with business and industry to be established.

"Working with government, business, other NGOs and the local Singapore community, WWF aims to spearhead efforts to build the region’s expertise in planning and managing natural resources wisely, and thereby contribute significantly towards Singapore’s growing status as a regional focal point,” said Dr Isabelle Louis, Director of WWF's Asia-Pacific Programme.

The WWF office in Sinagpore will also undertake education and outreach environmental programmes, facilitate dialogue on corporate social responsibility, and explore innovative financing for environmental sustainability."

The WWF site formally states:

What we are doing here
Singapore is the newest location of WWF in Asia-Pacific. Being one of the strongest Asian economies, Singapore provides a convenient hub to support WWF’s programmes across the region.

WWF Singapore will enable programme-led partnerships with business and industry to be established whilst raising the profile of corporate responsibility; supporting Education and Outreach programmes, and, at the same time helping WWF in attaining its mission.

Working with Government, business, other NGO’s and the Singapore community, WWF aims to strengthen its conservation activities in the region and thereby contribute significantly to Singapore’s development as a leader of environmental excellence.

WWF Singapore
2 Nassim Road Singapore 258470
T: +65 6734 9600
F: +65 6733 6217

I recall that several years ago, possibly in 1999 or 2000 that they sent a scout from the Malaysian office to Singapore to understand the biodiversity community here - she visited us at the Raffles Museum for a discussion. Its interesting to realise that the wheels have been churning since.

Their address, 2 Nassim Road, is right at the edge of Orchard Road and in a cul de sac shared by UNIFEM, SILAS, etc. And on the Singaapore webpage is a link to a document about Corporate Social Responsibility.

Application deadline for Director was apparently 17 Mar 2006. Since the responsibilities of this person ensures he/she "Interacts with in-country governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, the media and donors, as well as relevant regional organisations and private sector," we can expect to hear more of them eventually.

And finally, the article that broke the news for me:

"Aussie detained in Queen protest." From correspondents in Singapore. The Daily Telegraph, 17 Mar 20006.

A costumed Australian animal rights activist has disrupted a Singapore visit by the Queen with a protest against the bearskin hats worn by the soldiers who guard Buckingham Palace.

Two police officers detained the protester from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) near the Istana palace, where the Queen was to receive a ceremonial welcome from President SR Nathan.

A PETA spokesman identified the demonstrator as Jodi Ruckley, 33, from Sydney. She was led into a police van after brandishing a placard saying "God save the bears".

PETA said it launched the protest because of the use of Canadian black bear pelts for the Grenadier Guards' ceremonial bearskin hats. The Grenadier Guards are a part of the regular British army but are best known as the Royal Guard in London.

"We are not giving up till they change to synthetic fur," PETA spokesman Jason Baker said.

Earlier protests staged in Singapore by PETA have been against fast food chain KFC and the treatment of sheep in Australia. Protests are banned in tightly governed Singapore unless organisers obtain a police permit in advance. There was no immediate comment from the police about the incident.

It occurred hours before the Queen's husband Prince Philip was to attend the formal opening of environmental group WWF International's office in Singapore. He is the president emeritus of the organisation.

The Queen arrived in Singapore last night for a two-day state visit after her trip to Australia to open the Commonwealth Games. It is the Queen's third visit to Singapore, a former British colony where, according to a veteran diplomat, she enjoys "universal" respect and admiration.

Posted at 3:53PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news