Members of the Sungai Ingei Protection Forest Expedition team setting off in their boats to make the trip into the forest in the upper catchment of Sungai Belait yesterday morning. Picture: BT/Chua Guan Cheong
Sunday, July 3, 2011
SCIENTISTS from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) yesterday embarked on the second and final phase of their Sungai Ingei Expedition to collect vital wildlife information that could help the Sultanate preserve and manage its wildlife species in the forest.
The expedition in the Sungai Ingei Protection Forest will see almost 30 scientists spending three weeks in the upper catchment of Sungai Belait adjoining the Gunung Mulu National Park, which includes three types of forest; pristine mixed dipterocarp, upland Kerangas, and freshwater swamp.
According to Dr Joseph K Charles, the expedition leader from UBD's Biology Department, other than some limited information as to the biodiversity of the area, literally nothing is known of this undisturbed forest.
During the flagging-off ceremony for the crew yesterday, Dr Charles disclosed that the first phase of the expedition carried out last year was very successful with good preliminary results.
In a private session with The Brunei Times, Dr Charles said the results of the first expedition last July was still unpublished, and one of the main reasons was to prevent the information from being used by potential poachers to set up traps in the forest.
"The information will be released once the Sungai Ingei Sanctuary is ready to be set up," said the UBD professor.
On hand to send off the team of researchers was Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, who stressed that adequate capacity, which includes institutional set-up, skilled manpower, relevant knowledge, and an active research community are important for protecting and conserving Brunei's forests.
In this context, he was happy that UBD and other organisations were involved in the fauna survey of Sungei Ingei.
According to the minister, he will be joining the expedition crew from July 8-10 in the Sungai Ingei forests to see for himself the progress of their research.
Also present yesterday were MIPR Permanent Secretary Dato Paduka Dr Hj Amin Liew Abdullah, Deputy Permanent Secretary Hjh Normah Suria Hayati PJDSM DSU Dr Hj Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri, UBD Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Hjh Anita Binurul Zahrina, and UBD Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Zohrah Sulaiman.