Local community support crucial for Project Habitat
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
COMMITMENT and sense of responsibility is important for the success of ‘Project Habitat’, said environmentalist Mohd Daud Abdullah yesterday.
Project Habitat – to be launched sometime in the middle of this year – hopes to improve the livelihood of the community, conserve biodiversity, increase education on biodiversity and environmental protection, boost environmental awareness and promote eco-tourism.
It aims to do this by changing the mindset of communities to one that is environmentally friendly and understands the importance of biodiversity.
Mohd Daud, popularly known as Jungle Dave, is one of the founding members of the project.
He explained that the site for the new project is located at Kg Kiudang, Tutong.
Currently the project’s base is situated at one of the farms that belongs to a farmer under the Meriuk Suburban Agricultural Development Farms (KPLB).
The local community’s commitment will further strengthen the existing support from Heart of Borneo and the local experts and researchers from the Biodiversity and Natural History Society (BruWILD), said Mohd Daud Abdullah.
Mohd Daud said he started engaging the local community at Kg Kiudang a year ago.
He first went to the fruit farm to bird watch but saw the potential of the area.
“There is potential for eco-tourism here. The community can build on the eco-tourism industry. This will help them earn additional income while they wait for their fruit trees to bear fruits,” he said.
“It is not easy to communicate with the local farmers as they do not have any knowledge on tourism. I also need to change their mindset on hunting (the animals around the area) and shift their mindset from hunting to preservation. The more time I spend here, the more they understand what I am trying to do,” he explained.
The site will be open to visitors once it is launched.
Currently, the site has a temporary briefing hall and an office building.
“The future construction of the buildings to accommodate guests (which is under phase one of the project) will take place at the fruit farm as we do not want to build any buildings in the forest.
“This is important to not disturb any of the wildlife and the forest,” he said.
Phase one focuses on building infrastructure and mobilising the community to help carry out the project.
Phase two will be implemented in July and will focus on marketing and advertising.
The third phase will focus on the site’s operation and maintenance.
The Brunei Times