Survey to protect Sg Ingei begins
FULL protection, accompanied with proper management plans, are among the expected outcomes of a three-year, government-funded survey of wildlife living in the pristine reaches of Sg Ingei.
The research team, which included the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources and a visiting British dignitary, left for the deep jungles of Sg Ingei yesterday.
Dr Ang Bee Biaw, a research consultant of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) office at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR), said the “Faunal Biodiversity Survey in the Extension Zone of the Proposed Belait Basin Wildlife Sanctuary” was a continuation of the project’s first phase, conducted in 2010 to 2012.
The MIPR and scientists want to legally protect the proposed 166,000-hectare wildlife sanctuary, based on the results of this second phase of the Sg Ingei project as well as from its first phase.
“We hope that from our studies, (it will warrant) a total protection of the forest and its vicinity as well a management plan for the place to be utilised as an education centre, restricted eco-tourism (services) and bring benefits to the local community,” Dr Ang said.
Joining the research team were the Fifth Earl of Cranbrook, Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy and the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar. The minister is also the chairman of Brunei Darussalam’s HoB National Council.
“Sg Ingei (has been) chosen as our study site since it is a very remote area. Accessibility is very difficult as it takes about seven-hours boat ride or more, and not many people have been going there,” Dr Ang added.
“Hence, we wanted to be the first to do research (there).”
She shared that there first 17 people — the minister, the Earl of Cranbrook, wildlife experts, forest scientists, MIPR staff and paramedics headed to Sg Ingei.
“From the results of this study, we hope that we can give suggestions to the government (for the management plan).”
The team took off from Bukit Sawat jetty in Jalan Merangking, in Belait district. A doa selamat was read prior to departure to bless the journey and expedition.
The Brunei Times