Untouched beauty of Jiwaka

Normal, Weekender

SOMEWHERE in the deep jungles of Jiwaka, in Western Highlands province in a village called Maikmol, there exists a wildlife sanctuary.
The Maikmul Wildlife Sanctuary which is part of the Kavali Memorial Zoo is the brainchild of Michael Jinga, 33 who worked exceptionally hard to get community support to start the ground work and lay the foundation for the project.
The Zoo’s 750 hectare boundary covers four different clans in the area.
Its main purpose is to preserve and conserve the abundance of wild life, butterflies, insects and their habitats as well as preserving a wide range of plants in their pristine and untapped jungles.
According to Mr Jinga it was difficult getting the community to understand the importance of preservation and conservation in order to win their support to establish the sanctuary.
“The community from their own pockets and sweat injected capital of K8, 000.00 to purchase materials such as wires and nails to make cages for the animals and also to buy animals,” Mr Jinga said.
The Kavali Memorial Zoo, a locally owned company was formed in commemoration of the late Sir Thomas Kavali who died in 2007. Sir Thomas who was Mr. Jinga’s uncle was a politician and advocator of Jiwaka becoming a separate province.
Mr Jinga said the project aims to provide an environment conducive for communities to continue cultivating and producing cash crops on their land such as coffee, peanuts and vegetables while at the same time encourage land preservation methods.
“The company also aims to contribute to the development for the people of Jiwaka by enabling them to generate more revenue from their land and resources and create more job opportunities in the tourism industry,” he said.
The Kevali Memorial Zoo includes a nursery house, fish pond, butterfly and insect areas, barbeque area, recreational centre and a guest house known as the Jinga Guest house which can cater for 200 guests.
All the facilities in the zoo were built using local labour and bush material.
The zoo also boasts excellent trekking areas, a waterfall, caves and a look out point.
 Mr Jinga commended the community’s support in the initial stages to build the zoo to what it is now.
On behalf of the community he is now appealing for funding support of K120, 000 from the National and provincial government, donor agencies and environment and conservation organizations to start operating the facility.
The project when operational will involve and benefit 260,000 plus people directly and indirectly. 
“The ground work has been done all throughout the year 2008. We need funds to get the facility going. It will not only benefit a large number of people in the area but also educate people in surrounding areas about the need to preserve and conserve our diverse flora and fauna,” Mr Jinga said.
He has submitted a project proposal outlining the zoo’s aims and objectives to a number of people including Mr. Phillip Kapal, the chair Person of the Jiwaka Caretaker Administration
The Kavali Memorial Zoo area is not accessible by road and there is no airstrip as well. The only way in is by a chopper or a five hour walk from Kimil in Mount Hagen.
“Our country has a lot to offer in terms of tourism and natural resources. While it is good to expose such things to the outside world, the responsibility is on us the resource owners to do it in a sustainable way that will ensure that the resources remain abundant for our future generations to enjoy as well,” Mr. Jinga said.
“The Kavali Memorial  Zoo is geared towards this vision. With climate change affecting the environment and the mining boom in PNG, it is vital that we establish such places to educate our people about conservation,” he said.

* More information about the zoo can be obtained from [email protected] or [email protected]