The National, Tuesday October 8th, 2013
AN invasive species educational publication titled Monty and the Lake Kutubu Invasion was recently printed in Australia and distributed to elementary and primary schools in the Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas project area.
The publication promotes PNG native species.
A statement from the National Research Institute said a team from Canberra University’s Institute of Applied Technology would be distributing the booklets to schools around Lake Kutubu this month.
“The publication is intended to educate elementary and primary school students about the impact invasive species can have on their natural lake environment,” the statement said.
Currently, there are 12 endemic fish species in Lake Kutubu, “meaning they are not found anywhere in the world”.
“Hence, any introduction of a foreign animal or plant can be detrimental to the future livelihood of Lake Kutubu communities that rely on the lake for their daily needs.
“The book will instil environmental values at an early age, and promote conservation of Kutubu’s local fish species.”
The main character in the booklet is a popular fish in the lake “Kutubu Morgurnda”, named Monty in the book.
“The story goes that Monty, who happens to stumble on an alien visitor, with neighbour Melanie, the rainbow fish. It includes a plot where the alien visitor that entered their community stirred fear among the fish population.
“The book illustrates, in a comical way, the consequences of allowing foreign animals or plants in one’s environment and the challenges it can bring upon your community.”
Lake Kutubu lies at about 800m above sea level and is set between two steep forested ranges.
Currently, a wildlife management area, the lake gave its name to the nearby Kutubu oil project, PNG’s first commercial oil field development operated by Oil Search Ltd.
The book authors are Dr Carla Eisemberg, Fernando Perini, Dennis Badi and Prof Arthur Georges.
The PNG LNG project and Canberra University’s Institute of Applied Technology funded the book printing.