Kutubu locals pledge to protect Bird of Paradise

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Landowners from Kutubu, Southern Highlands, have pledged to protect the Bird of Paradise known as kumul in Tok Pisin.
These community groups have renewed their commitment to work with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to promote the conservation and management of key sites and species of the iconic bird found in the region.
Of the 31 different species found in Papua New Guinea, 24 are confirmed to be in the Kikori Basin, as recorded by WWF, and six in the Kutubu region.
However, these majestic birds face increasing threat due to harmful and unsustainable land-use practices.
These birds are also hunted for their plumes for decorations, traditional headdresses and gifts.
In December last year, WWF held a workshop in Tugiri and Daga which was attended by 30 people who owned Bird of Paradise watching sites. The participants expressed their intention to be proactive in preventing the extinction of the species.
WWF programme development manager Kafuri Yaro said the fund was looking at strengthening its work in the Kikori Basin to promote sustainable livelihood issues and increase local community engagement in the Bird of Paradise conservation programme.
Yaro said this would complement the existing work on eco-tourism by promoting the Bird of Paradise sites, improving its conservation status of migratory birds and initiating specific plans for specific threatened species.
“WWF hopes to identify and utilise opportunities for increased awareness and appreciation on the importance of the region’s unique native wildlife, amazing landmarks and rare cultural way of life which is celebrated annually at the Kutubu Kundu and Digaso Festival,” he said.

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