Into the heart of Brunei | Endangered Borneo

Help us map the distribution of critically endangered wildlife in Borneo. Our team will conduct an important biodiversity survey along a never-before researched river in the rainforest of Brunei. Brunei is the least explored territory of Borneo island and home to some of the islands last intact primary rainforest; it may well be the only remaining safe haven for dozens of threatened species which exist nowhere else on Earth, and are suffering from the effects of a rapidly developing world.

Freshwater Life Project experts will be joined by local citizen-scientists to carry out a biodiversity survey of a region of protected primary rainforest and install camera-trap and bioacoustic recording equipment. The survey area has not previously been researched and there is no available data on species abundance and distribution (including for many threatened endemic species). In Brunei there is very little or no data at all on the presence of critically endangered species such as the Sunda Pangolin, Bornean Rhinoceros, Bornean Orangutan, and endangered creatures like Bornean Elephants, Freshwater Dolphins, Freshwater Crocodilians, Otter Civet, Bornean Bay Cat and the Spiny Turtle; there are no previous recordings of fish species from this river or its tributaries.

Our objectives for this project are:

  • Assess potential for application of a long-term biodiversity monitoring program and determine which survey techniques are appropriate to the study area.
  • Gather valuable data on the distribution and living conditions of species in the target area, particularly new species and endangered and endemic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fishes from Brunei.
  • Install monitoring equipment using non-intrusive methods to collect evidence of terrestrial species present within the target area.
  • Record observations of any anthropogenic impacts and report any contraventions of the national park regulations to the relevant authorities

The findings from this survey will be published in respected scientific journals and be used to support the case for ongoing conservation for the habitat and all of the species relying on it. We are highly likely to make entirely new geographic sightings for many species and will probably encounter species new to science; we expect that a very large proportion of data collected will be entirely new information, and crucial for conservation. Our aim is to determine feasibility for our long term goal, which is to establish a research base deep in the jungle where we can facilitate ongoing research initiatives in conjunction with educational institutions and other conservation bodies.

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Chris is an aquatic researcher and naturalist primarily interested in freshwater teleosts, crustacea and macrophytes. A specialist in fish nutrition, his background includes the establishment of his own business where he develops specially formulated feeds for ornamental & farmed fish and other aquatic species closely based on their natural diets. His personal research includes the freshwater and coastal habitats on the island of Cyprus and the ecological impacts of unsustainable practices occurring in the Amazon and Orinoco basins; he is also an avid collector and cultivator of rare and endangered rainforest plants.