Monday, November 15, 2010

Paradise bird from Vogelkop region of New Guinea

Birds of paradise are important species in New Guinea island particularly in the Vogelkop region. As seed disperser a paradise bird can travel several kilometers away with some seeds of a plant in its bill or beak, and stomach and drop them off at a place where the plant has not grown before. In other words, birds of paradise and other species of birds help preserve and expand the forest. Without the existence of paradise birds and other birds in the jungle of New Guinea island, the expansion of the tropical rainforest would be limited.
Personally, during my tour in Sorong regency and Tambrauw mountains, I saw and heard several species of birds of paradise. The first one was the magnificent birds of paradise (Cicinnurus magnificus). They can be watched in high elevation forest of Tambrauw mountains. The second species was the Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor). I saw them while doing a birdwatching tour in Klasow valley of Sorong and at the bank of Syuan river of Tambrauw.
When the first time I saw these magnificent birds of paradise, I was totally amazed by the behavior of the male birds. They had to perform courtship dance in order to attract the female birds. I believe that everybody who has seen these birds would recommend that this species be protected.
I am sad to see that paradise birds are facing extinction due to high hunting rate. They are being caught alive or dead. Hunters will sell them to buyers in big cities in very high prices. This very profitable business threatens all species of paradise birds and other tropical birds in Papua's tropical rainforest.
Alternative income creation for the villagers that we can generate in New Guinea includes the introduction of intensive but small scale vegetable and poultry farming, the controllable exploitation of non-wood products from the forest such as rottan for furniture, and herbs that can be processed into medicine and the promotion of ecotourism. The conversation of large area of tropical rainforest into monoculture plantations is not a wise solution. The negative environmental impact of such plantations is higher than the positive benefits which the villagers might get.
I hope that with these alternative small businesses more people will be able to improve their economic livelihood without having to destroy their surrounding nature.
Please, contact me by e-mail: if you plan to visit Sorong town of West Papua for trekking, camping, and watching wild animals in the jungle.

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