Colonisers blamed for PNG’s conservation issues

World-renowned scientist, climate change expert and conservationist, Professor Tim Flannery, blames PNG’s wildlife conservation problems on the colonisers.

He believes they did a poor job by not setting up the right infrastructure to conserve PNG’s rich biodiversity.

Professor Flannery says the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, based in Lumi, West Sepik, is one conservation model that can be adopted by other communities for wildlife and biodiversity conservation.

Professor Flannery has made remarkable discoveries in mammalogy and environmental science. He states PNG’s rich rainforests, biodiversity and wildlife drew him to the country in the first place.

Even though PNG is home to rare species of mammals, plants, frogs and birds, the country lacks conservation initiatives and needs to develop conservation models that will suit locals.

Biodiversity conservation always runs parallel with community developments and attested this to the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, which focuses on preserving rare and endangered tree kangaroos.

Drawing lessons from this, a similar conservation project called The Kainake Project for the rare species of ‘mangi-face bat’ and tree rat is being rolled out in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Professor Flannery also highlighted the importance of developing commercial conservation projects that will enable communities to venture into fish farming and other aspects of preservation.

(The tenkile, or Scott's tree kangaroo [Dendrolagus scottae] – Picture: Tenkile Conservation)

Carolyn Ure