Bandar Seri Begawan - To further preserve the rich flora and fauna in the pristine forests of Brunei Darussalam, the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar yesterday called for the setting up of a Wildlife Enforcement Network National Task Force, whose members will comprise relevant government agencies.
This is to keep in line with the commitments and needs of the country as a member to regional and international bodies such as the Asean Wildlife Enforcement Network, Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and Convention on Biodiversity (CBD).
The call was made after the announcement of the establishment of a Wildlife Division under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) with the consent of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in a bid to better manage, coordinate and monitor wildlife efficiently and systematically.
"The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources have agreed that one agency should be responsible for the administration of wildlife management. Therefore, His Majesty consented to the establishment of the Wildlife Division under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources since October 6, 2012," the minister explained.
The setting-up of the new division "shows the government's continuous commitment to updating and further strengthening the management of issues and welfare of wildlife in the country.
"With the establishment of the division, the Wildlife Protection Act, 1984 will come under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources."
Meanwhile, emphasis was also placed on the need to formulate and amend the current Wildlife Protection Act, 1984 and the Wild Flora and Fauna Order, 2007.
The minister said, "Brunei currently has two legislations pertaining to wildlife, which are the Wildlife Protection Act, 1984 and the Wild Flora and Fauna Order, 2007.
"The Wildlife Protection Act, 1984 was originally handled by the Department of Museum under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; while the Wild Fauna and Flora Order, 2007 is under the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.
"Additionally, there are also other laws that are connected indirectly to the management and enforcement of wildlife like the Forestry Act and Fisheries Act," Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Yahya added.
"The current laws need to be amended and formulated for improvement in line with the needs of current developments so that they are aligned with enforced legislations in the region and at the international level, especially in the effort to safeguard species of animals and wild plants from the threat of extinction caused by pouching and illegal trade."
In an effort to control and prevent the activities of poaching and illegal trade: the minister said, "it is important for us to identify areas suitable to be made into a wildlife sanctuary. The area can provide programmes in management and preservation of wildlife to be implemented more effectively, especially for species that are on the list of being threatened, endangered and vulnerable".
"In addition, the area can be a place for breeding, rehabilitation and preservation, as well as to allow for better monitoring and inventory of wildlife. It can also be a product and place for eco-tourism destination contributing to the social economy, and a location for research and learning to raise skills and expertise in the management of wildlife," he explained.
The minister then witnessed the signing and handing over of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1984 between the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Hj Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Hjh Normah Suria Hayati binti Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Dr Hj Awg Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri.
Meanwhile, the winner of the logo competition went to Siti Zaleha binti Kifrawi, who received her prize from the minister.
The day also saw invited guests listening to an eye-opening talk on 'Wildlife in Brunei' delivered by Dr Joseph Charles from Universiti Brunei Darussalam.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin