Enforcement crucial to conservation efforts

National 1 minute, 49 seconds

BELAIT

ENFORCEMENT of wildlife protection laws is a key step to ensuring the success of conservation efforts, following awareness and monitoring activities, said visiting conservationist from the United Kingdom, Louise Fletcher.

While the current focus on awareness on the importance of wildlife protection as well as biodiversity research in the Sultanate's near-pristine forests will remain important, Fletcher believes that conservation objectives can only be met through a “multi-faceted approach” that should not rule out enforcement.

“In terms of conservation, people don't necessarily want to do enforcement. It's not necessarily the exciting thing. Research is greater needed as that produces papers while enforcement is harder work and that's not such an attractive prospect but it is the key,” she said.

Enforcement has provided proof of effectiveness in countries such as Zimbabwe, where awareness of actual enforcement and prosecution has resulted in successful pangolin conservation, Fletcher adds.

“There’s an organisation out there who have really put in the effort to make sure that poachers are prosecuted and get the right sentences, and those sentences are served. It’s working well because that’s awareness... that the law is being enforced and that changes people’s behaviour.”

She also said that more knowledge about the species and its population were needed to complement Brunei’s efforts in trying to diversify through “green economy”, such as through eco-tourism.

“In order to see the effect of that happening and to be able to measure it, it's important to monitor populations of a variety of species. I would like to (come back to Brunei). I have ideas from work that I’ve done before and having been here, Brunei seems like a suitable place to test out those ideas.”

Fletcher was speaking to The Brunei Times yesterday at the Tropical Biodiversity Centre in the Andalau Forest Reserves, shortly after completing a workshop on identifying suitable spots for wild animal releases in Labi.

The workshop was one of a series on designing surveys for small carnivores and pangolins, organised by the British High Commission and 1StopBrunei Wildlife. It continues today in Teraja with a workshop on the setting up of camera traps to photograph the creatures being studied.

The Brunei Times