The National, Monday October 21st, 2013
TO raise awareness on the introduction of plants and animals into a local environment, a new book for children has been produced for circulation to schools in the Lake Kutubu and Kikori Delta regions of the Gulf Province.
The book Monty and the Lake Kutubu Invasion tells the story of Chris the Carp, who finds his way to the lake to the great concern of the many native fish species that live in Lake Kutubu and nowhere else.
At first they are all frightened, then they come to know and accept Chris the Carp, but after a while, through no real fault of his own – Chris the Carp is just being a carp – trouble brews, and the fish community work out a way to return Chris to his home country.
The book, which is full of games and puzzles, sends the message that it is bad to bring new species into an area from other countries, because the consequences for our native species can be very bad. Introducing predatory fish like the Nile Perch or Redfin to Lake Kutubu would cause many of its unique species to become extinct, lost forever. Fish like this are in fish farms beside the lake.
The biodiversity advisor for region said “the impact of invasive species cannot be over-estimated and the importance of raising community awareness of this is very important. This book will help immensely by bringing the issue to the minds of the next generation, at an age when they are receptive to new ideas”.
“Protecting Lake Kutubu is particularly important as the lake contains 12 unique fish species found nowhere else in the world,” Eric Manasi, who has just joined the pig nosed turtle conservation team in the Kikori, said.
The book is written by scientist Dr Carla Eisemberg and beautifully illustrated. Its production was funded by the petroleum industry, and 10,000 copies will be circulated this school term to children of Lake Kutubu.
The book was launched at the recent Kutubu, Kundu and Digaso Festival in Daga and again yesterday in Kopi village in the Kikori lowlands.
Parents and school teachers were impressed with the book.
Fanuga Primary School teacher, Sarah Pali said: “The book is very impressive. In the beginning of the story, I found it funny, but as I read through and understood the content, I began to feel sad and worried. There are problems with invasive fish in Lake Kutubu, and I did not know about the problem!”
Israel Keai from the PNG Education Institute was equally impressed with the book.
He said: “This book disseminates an important message through the use of pictures and names within their local communities that are easily understood.”
“Early white explorers brought with them exotic plants and animals such as Elephant Grass which is now such a problem”, Hilbert Gaibu from Tanuga Primary said.
“Mustard tree is another plant. Locals do not know how to stop these species spreading along the Kikori-Moro roadside.”
Sam Toro’oi Jack, of Era Kiti Primary School, said “the book will really help the children understand about conservation. I enjoyed the story, the puzzles and games.
They will open up a child’s mind.
The book reminds all of us of the responsibility to conserve rare and threatened species, and will be good for environmental studies.”
For information phone Yolarnie Amepou on 7046 7259.