Disappearance of cuscus due to loss of forest

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EFFORTS to sustain the population of cuscus on the Admiralty Islands in Manus have been hampered by the loss of forests where they live, a research has found.
The research led by national researchers John Lamaris and Nathan Whitmore found that some clans have revived the “no hunting” (tambu) areas to protect the cuscus.
“Our initial research on the cuscus began as a result of local concerns on the disappearance of the animals in the Great Central Forest, the last intact rainforest in the Admiralty islands,” Whitmore said.
“Our follow-up research suggests that the reality is more complicated and that the tambu management can only work if the forest remains intact.”
The loss of forests through commercial logging and agriculture had decreased the size of the forests.
The tambu areas become smaller therefore restricting the movement of the young cuscus who want to wander out before they become adults.
“Right now the number of cuscus on Manus Island are declining rapidly. This is because a large scale forestry operation has started on the south coast of the island to clear forest for a rubber plantation.
The operation will affect around 38,000 ha of cuscus habitat.

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