Monday, 26 September 2011

Another invites for VIPs to join Sg Ingei expedition

British High Commissioner Rob Fenn (R) receiving a souvenir from Project Administrator Dr Ang Bee Biaw during the appreciation dinner for the Sg Ingei Faunal Biodiversity Surveys held at The Airport Restaurant, Brunei International Airport, Berakas.Picture: BT/Ubaidillah Masli

Dr Joseph Charles delivering his remarks during the appreciation dinner last night. Pictures: BT/Ubaidillah Masli

Sunday, September 25, 2011

THE on-going Sungai Ingei Faunal Biodiversity Survey will once again invite "VIPs" and the media to tag along into the depths of the remote, virtually-undisturbed forests in the interior of Belait District next month.

The visit, slated for October 28-30, will see for the first time participation from senior personnel of Standard Chartered Bank Brunei (SCB), the survey's Project Administrator, Dr Ang Bee Biaw told The Brunei Times yesterday.

SCB is providing the funding for the two-year Heart of Borneo (HoB) project, from a US$500,000 ($700,000) prize donation from the Race for a Living Planet Environment Challenge, which Brunei won last year for its HoB initiative.

Attending an appreciation dinner to mark the survey's progress so far, SCB Chief Executive Officer Lai Pei-Si confirmed that she will be taking part in the visit and said that she was "excited" to go.

The CEO's predecessors have planned to visit the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) scientists at work in Ingei before but bad weather and mismatch of schedules have prevented them from doing so in the past.

The visit requires participants to travel up to a day upriver, depending on the water level and number of obstructions caused by fallen logs along the river, from the Bukit Sawat jetty and passing Kg Melilas by longboat.

The upcoming visit also invited British High Commissioner to Brunei Rob Fenn, who has been to Sg Ingeionce before earlier this year, and Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya SeriUtama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar.

Ang said that the minister has yet to confirm his participation due to a busy schedule, but if he did join, the October visit will make it Pehin Dato Hj Yahya's fourth to join the Sg Ingei biodiversity survey.

The project administrator added they would try to show the "VIPs" the unique forest mosaic found within the 18,000 hectares of the Sg Ingei Protection Forest. "Every time we bring guests out there, we try to do something different," Ang said.

The survey is hoped to mount enough evidence to convince authorities to turn the forests into a wildlife sanctuary and increase protection from threats and such.

The two phases of the project have been completed, but the scientists have to return periodically to retrieve the images caught by the heat- and motion-triggered camera traps left running in the forests. "Hopefully, by the end of the expedition in December 2012, we will have an exhaustive list of animal species found in Sg Ingei (forests)." The upcoming visit will also see the scientific team joined by a tarsier expert from Indonesia, Dr Indera Yustian and an expert on herpetofauna from Universiti MalaysiaSarawak, Professor Indera Neil Das, who will be studying crocodiles in Sg Ingei and Sg Belait. This was part of the initiative to include more people and more technologies to make it truly an HoB project, Angsaid.

The Brunei Times

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