Friday, October 5, 2012

Birds of Paradise in Tropical Island of New Guinea

Birds of paradise are the icon of New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. They live in the rainforests but now their natural habitats are being destroyed by massive deforestation. The rise of fuel prices has triggered the search for alternative fuel oil other than petroleum. When processed palm oil is believed to be the alternative fuel for diesel engine that drive cars and trucks, massive monoculture sawit palm plantations are now being opened in West Papua and Papua New Guinea. With the approval of local governments, hundreds of thousands of hectares rainforest are now being cut for the development of the sawit plantations. Tropical rainforests that are rich in bio-diversity are now shrinking every minute.
Birds of paradise have also been hunted since hundreds of years ago. They are traded life and dead to collectors who are happy to hang them on the walls of their houses or to put them in glass boxes.
Birdwatching is an alternative income generation scheme that I try to introduce to local people in Manokwari regency at the moment. Birdwathers from Europe, the United States have come to see the birds of paradise in their natural habitat. There are three locations in this regency where tourists can go to watch birds of paradise.
They are Camp Mawowi, Camp Dopi and Aiwatar hill. The nearest on to the town is Camp Dopi. Birdwatchers who want to see the birds of paradise in Camp Dopi need to hiking through the jungle for three hours to reach the birding site. I deliberately do not put the GPS coordinates of the site in website to prevent hunters from visiting the jungle and shooting the birds.

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