BruWILD hotline giving lifeline to endangered animals

National 2 minutes, 25 seconds

BELAIT

LOCAL conservation and environmental group Biodiversity and Natural History Society (BruWILD) has received approximately ten leads from the public on the illegal catch and sale of endangered animals through its dedicated hotline set up last year.

BruWILD president Liaw Lin Ji said reports to the organisation’s hotline, which are later relayed to the Wildlife Division, have picked up over the past four to six months.

“The need for a hotline became clear when we were promoting to the public on how we all have a role to play in protecting animals, and how suspicious activities should be reported. But there was no easy channel for the public to do so,” said Liaw on the sidelines of a Wildlife Awareness Roadshow at Belait’s Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Hj Abu Bakar Secondary School yesterday.

Liaw said the Wildlife Division also established a hotline shortly after BruWILD introduced theirs and the two hotlines currently work in tandem with each other.

“We work as the middle-man in this sense between the public and the government. We have a strong following who trust us with useful information which can make a difference in protecting wildlife,” she said.

Liaw said one of biggest challenges BruWILD and the division face on the hotlines is that the callers expect to be constantly kept in the loop on any follow ups carried out based on the information they have provided.

“There have been cases where someone reports the illegal sale or catch of endangered animals and they feel entitled to know the details of the investigations or follow-ups carried out,” she said.

“This cannot be the case, as the release of certain information to the public can potentially jeopardise the investigation itself,” she explained.

BruWILD's hotline has also received calls from members of the public in distress over the presence of dangerous animals, including one case of a cobra-infested garage.

“We advised the caller to reach out to the Fire and Rescue Department to extract the snakes from his garage as they are the best option, having personnel with the expertise and experience,” she said.

At the same time, Liaw explained to the caller that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, the owner had to clean out his garage which was dark, humid and had become a breeding environment for rats which drew snakes.

BruWILD also recently partnered with the Brunei Methanol Company (BMC) who agreed to foot the bill for the printing of educational posters and leaflets.

These include the ‘Report and Rescue’ publication which lists both hotline numbers as well as steps to be taken to save wildlife.

“BMC has been very supportive after first noticing us at a roadshow in Brunei-Muara. Aside from sponsoring print costs, we’ve worked with them to organise several Wildlife Awareness Roadshows across secondary schools in Belait.”

The public can reach BruWILD’s hotline at 7127379 or the Wildlife Division at 7216533.

The Brunei Times