Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sg Ingei new faunal species undergo DNA analysis

File photo shows survey leader of the Sg Ingei Faunal Biodiversity Survey, Dr Joseph Charles (R) briefing the Standard Chartered Bank Brunei (SCB) members. Picture: BT file
Monday, April 9, 2012
DNA works are currently on-going for the data collected for the Sg Ingei Faunal Biodiversity Survey, said the survey leader Dr Joseph Charles in an interview with The Brunei Times.

"There are some DNA work being done, that information won't be available for the public yet until we have the proper thing analysed and identified," said Dr Charles.

Initial findings of the Sg Ingei Faunal Biodiversity Survey indicate that there are evidence of new species at Sg Ingei, but more work, including DNA analysis, needs to be done.

Dr Charles and his team, a multinational team of researchers from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), are currently in Sg Ingei until April 24 to continue their survey work. The two-year survey which began in 2010 hopes to document and compile data on elusive animals and convince to authorities to protect the area as a sanctuary.

At present, the area is known as the Sg Ingei Protection Forest situated in the remote interior of BelaitDistrict.

"We are hoping that when the sanctuary is made, part of it (a buffer zone) will be used for recreation and eco-tourism, showcasing the skills of the local people."

He added in many cases (in such researches) the public comes in giving them more data. "For example, most data on birds was gathered by the layman," he said.

People think of forests as merely trees growing, it is more than that as it provides habitation, he said.

"There is hardly any information on the Borneoan Bay Cat, and we are getting information on the Bay Cat from the Sg Ingei project," he added.

The Borneoan Bay Cat is one of the world's rarest wild cats, an elusive creature once thought to be extinct. The Borneoan Bay Cat is a long-tailed reddish or grey feline the size of a large domesticated cat.

Poachers are a major concern for the team hence the decision to limit the release of survey findings.

Dr Charles said, "Poaching is done now not only by intruders but also our local people. Hunting for survival is different from hunting for commercial (purposes). Poaching takes away the resources from the local people/natives who greatly depend on forest produce."

Cases of poaching at the survey area were published by The Brunei Times during an invitation by the team to cover the survey's progress last October. The cases were reported by the locals in Kg Sukangand Kg Melilas, alleged to have been executed two weeks before the Survey team returned to their base camp in Sg Ingei.

"We have lots to be proud of. Brunei (has) got so much to be proud of, that pride must be felt by everyBruneian. If you feel that pride you wont hunt, poach (and) you will protect. To protect the forest in Brunei is a task. A lot of things depend on how they do it. We are doing our part, other have to do their part also." he added.

The Brunei Times

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