Sunday, June 15, 2008

Facing Extinction, Paradise Birds and Crown Pigeon of West Papua



In Papua (Irian Jaya), there are many kinds of birds that are facing extinction. Some of them are paradise birds and crown pigeon. These birds have beautiful feather. Paradise birds (paradisaea minor) are dominated by yellow, green and dark brown while crown pigeon mostly has blue, gray and white colors.
Another species of birds of paradise is the magnificent birds of paradise. In Kwau village of Arfak mountains, tourists from all corner of the world come to watch the male birds perform courtship dance on the slopes of the mountains in the morning and in the afternoon. The promotion of Arfak mountains as tourist destination for bird lovers greatly improve the economic condition of the indigenous people there and helps reduce the deforestation. The magnificent birds of paradise is also called Cincinnurus Magnificus in Latin language. The male birds have more beautiful feather than the female ones. 
Birds of paradise, together with other birds, are important for the survivability of the tropical rainforest. They disperse the seeds of the fruits that they eat. For the magnificent birds of paradise, the species of plant that they help to expand is red fruit plant also known as pandanus conoideus. Now the extract of red fruit is seen as an important medicine for the treatment of cancer, hiv/aids and many other diseases. 
People call the bird crown pigeon because this kind of bird has crown-like head. In West Papua, its name is Mambruk. When you go to the zoo you may probably see these birds. They are originally from the Papuan island.
Hunters and traders of birds of paradise like to shoot them and preserve their skin. Then they will bring these skins to big cities and sell them at high prices. Sometimes, they bring and sell the birds alive to wealthy buyers in big cities.
No wonder, these birds are facing extinction. If we don't do anything to prevent more killings to these species, we will never be able to see them anymore in the near future. 
If you are interested in watching the magnificent birds of paradise dancing in the morning on the slopes of Arfak mountains, please, contact me - Charles Roring - via e-mail: charlesroring@gmail.com. I'll be happy to arrange your accommodation in Manokwari city and your transport to the Kwau village for that purpose.
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