Thursday, 15 March 2012

Wildlife under threat as poachers raid Sg Ingei

By Siti Hajar
Borneo Bulletin 15 March 2012

The protection of the country's wildlife has been given serious attention as the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources is currently exploring ways to ensure that Brunei Darussalam's wild animals are properly and adequately protected under the country's laws as the ministry has received feedback that poachers are hunting with bags and trucks in Sungai Ingei in the Belait District.

Minister of Industry and Primary Resources YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar yesterday announced that His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as of January 2012 has given the ministry the mandate and trust to handle the management and preservation of not just wild animals on land but also marine life.

In line with the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative that protects identified forest areas under a three-way agreement between Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, the issue of wildlife protection was brought to the Eighth Legislative Council meeting yesterday by YB Awg Hj Ramli bin Hj Lahit who voiced his concern on illegal hunting that is taking place in the country's forests and how this can significantly affect the progress made under the HoB.

Feedback from residents in the rural areas of the Belait District, especially in Sungai Ingei, said the minister, has indicated that poachers are hunting in droves as opposed to the acceptable one animal a month for personal consumption.

Among the steps that are currently being taken, added the minister, is the organising of meetings and workshops "to identify what should be done especially in the strengthening or changing of laws to ensure that these laws are effective and relevant".

As governmental efforts are not enough to curb the loss of wildlife, especially mainstream game targets such as deer and a few species of birds, the minister also made a public call for the people to help in monitoring not only the hunters but also those who purchase hunted wildlife.

If there is demand for wild (exotic) meat then there will be supply, he said.

"People need to stop demanding so as to ensure the control of supply and control hunting that is compromising on wildlife," he added and highlighted that "there is no scientific proof that wild meat is better than meat that is reared".

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