Sunday, December 19, 2010

Poaching Threatens Brunei's Clouded Leopards

A dead Bornean clouded leopard in Brunei

Recently, scholars in Brunei are calling a stop to the illegal poaching Bornean clouded leopards for the illegal wildlife. The nation has witnessed several reports regarding the hunting and killing of this highly endangered and elusive feline in Kg Merangking of Belait District. According to Dr. Ang Bee Bian, a project administrator of a faunal biodiversity survey called Sg Ingei Expedition, the cat is known worldwide as an endangered species. The researcher further added that it would be beneficial if people were aware of the animal's conservation status, as it would help them understand about the importance of protecting and preserving the species. The leader of Sg Ingei Expedition named Dr. Joseph Charles, who is also the senior lecturer at University of Brunei Darussalem's Biology Department, also felt that hunting and slaughtering of the clouded leopard should be halted.

I feel the same way as Dr. Ang and Dr. Charles regarding the Bornean clouded leopard's future. This elusive feline was classified as a genetically distant species from the regular clouded leopard in 2006. Its discovery was a goldmine for scientists and researchers, as with any other newly discovered species. If the rampant poaching continues, then the Bornean clouded leopard will be gone and the entire rainforest ecosystem will suffer major ecological imbalance. I also feel that it would be best for Brunei's people to learn about the importance of this cat in the nation's rainforests, as well as stronger law enforcement. There are several other tropical nations where people are learning about various endangered species' ecological importance as a way of protecting them, and Brunei should do the same. That way, the Bornean clouded leopard will continue to flourish and be studied.

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