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Papua New Guinea

Torricelli Mountains

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Conservation benefit: Protection of two species of tree kangaroo

Community benefit: Village chicken farming project

Date Approved: 06.2006

Two of the most endangered mammals in the world live in the remote rainforest of the Torricelli Mountains, in northwestern Papua New Guinea. Both are tree kangaroos, marsupials adapted to life in the tropical canopy. One is Scott’s tree kangaroo, locally known as the Tenkile; the other is the golden-mantled tree kangaroo, locally called the Weimang.  The populations of Tenkile and Weimang could be as low as 100 individuals. Still, local people, who have few options for food, hunt and eat them.

To save the Tenkile and Weimang, the local people know they need to provide themselves with an alternative protein source. A grant from Seacology grant will support a chicken farming program. In return, the villagers will sign a hunting ban on all species for two years and establish a conservation area covering 37,065 acres. A local organization, the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, will help the villagers, over the next two to three years, turn this area into a formal Conservation Area recognized by PNG law. The process is already underway.

Project Updates

March 2015

The hunting ban has allowed the population of Tenkile (Scott’s tree kangaroo) to triple, to about 300, and habitat is still being protected. This is great progress, though the Tenkile is still critically endangered. Local communities also still need a source of protein to replace what the tree kangaroos provided; Seacology’s partner, the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, is working on this issue.

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January 2009

In June 2008, project leaders returned a final report with photos and financial reporting to field representative Helen Perks. A full supply of hens for each community was not complete at the time of reporting, and costs for transportation to/from village meetings expended the funds. As of November 2008 project leaders reported that conservation efforts continue to be strengthened and supported by the communities in the area.

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June 2007

From October 2006 through April 2007 representatives from each clan of the 18 villages participating in the project met to discuss the conservation area and establish boundaries for the no-hunting zones. Materials for the chicken cages were purchased and are being distributed to each village by foot or by vehicle when road conditions permit. There has been a delay in purchasing chickens due to the decreased availability in the area caused by bird diseases. In spite of the delay the no-hunting restrictions are being observed. Livestock is expected to be available by June 2007. In the meantime, project leaders have provided a set of chickens they raised themselves to villages showing exceptional commitment and enthusiasm for the project.

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January 2007

All documentation was returned to Seacology in October 2006. Plans for October 2006 through April 2007 include coordinating conservation area meetings and patrols and purchasing and transporting equipment to participating villages to build chicken coops. Purchasing and transporting poultry to the participating villages is scheduled for mid 2007 once all coop construction is completed.

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