Celebrating PNG’s first conservation area
An Australian Geographic Society-funded project is working with the traditional tribes of Papua New Guinea to protect endangered wildlife in the nation’s first major conservation area, the YUS region.
New Guinea is one the world’s great natural wonders. With less than 0.5 per cent of Earth’s landmass, it is home to some 10 per cent of its species, with many found nowhere else. It owes much of its biodiversity to its isolation and topography.
Many of the plants and animals in YUS are culturally important to the local people. Recognising that wildlife was becoming scarcer, clans from more than 50 villages came together to set aside parcels of their own land for the protected area.
On this land they have committed not to hunt, log the forest or extract resources. Such close collaboration with local communities is essential to set up and maintain protected areas, because more than 95 per cent of PNG’s land remains the property of the indigenous clans who inhabit it.
Read the full story in Australian Geographic magazine #120.