By Ratri M. Siniwi in Jakarta
The World Wildlife Fund Indonesia has called for the conservation of birds-of-paradise – especially in Papua.
Locally known as cendrawasih, the bird species is synonymous with the two island provinces but it has fallen prey to illegal trade, poaching and taxidermy.
The environmental organisation believes this is mainly due to a lack of awareness.
“Since 2013, the WWF has conducted a survey of habitat and species population in Papua, and we found that there are more than 40 types of birds in the paradise species,” WWF Indonesia northern New Guinea leader Piter Roki Aloisius said.
“This means that conservation efforts are necessary, and one of the ways could be with ecotourism and educational activities,” he added.
Piter included activities such as watching the birds in their natural habitat, but this can only be done if the forests are well preserved.
The birds are part of the cultural heritage of indigenous communities in Papua, who preserve the forests and the birds’ natural habitat.
However, WWF Indonesia believes that it is the greater responsibility of all Indonesians, especially in the eastern part of the archipelago.
“We need to provide an understanding through a local context in Papua about [bird] conservation, and one of the ways is with an educational approach,” Piter said.
He added that this would be more effective, as future generations will be able to see the avian paradise of Papua, compared to just having pictures or stories.