Nature-Based solutions and conservation livelihood-Lake Kutubu, Southern Highlands Province
In partnership with the annual Kutubu Digaso Festival (KKDF), a popular national cultural event that brings together cultural groups from communities within the Kikori river basin and the Great Papuan Plateau region (KRB/GPP). The event promotes the celebration of unique ancient cultures amongst participants, strengthens networking and sharing new information about the unique biodiversity of the KRB/GPP region.
Land owning groups in Daga village, Tugiri village,Gesege village and Wasami village in the Lake Kutubu area, Southern Highlands province have shown their commitment to working with WWF-PNG in promoting the protection and management of key sites and species of the Bird of Paradise and other bird species found in the region.
Due to economic development activities and other unsustainable forest use, these majestic birds face increasing threats to their survival.
Since 2018, WWF-PNG has been supporting these local communities by promoting sustainable livelihood and increase local community engagement in the BOP protection which ensures long term conservation benefits.
In September 2020, WWF-PNG conducted a Bird species Diversity Monitoring in three sample sites with the aim to collect and collate baseline information to support the eco-tourism opportunity. In partnership with the Binatang Research Centre (BRC), WWF engaged an ornithologist to lead the survey with six field assistants.
Three sampling methods namely the point count, song meter and short gun were used to collate data in three different sample sites within Lake Kutubu region.
A total of 252 bird species was recorded in the three sample sites while the individual species records 576 species.
Data recorded by WWF from past biodiversity surveys indicated that of the 31 different BOP species found in PNG, 24 are confirmed to inhabit the Kikori River Basin and 6 are residents of the Kutubu region.
Although work is still in progress, this will complement the existing work on ecotourism by promoting the Bird of Paradise sites,improving its conservation status of migratory birds and initiating detailed plans for specific threatened species.
WWF also hopes to identify and utilize opportunities for increased awareness and appreciation on the importance of the regions unique native wildlife, amazing landmarks and rare cultural ways of life of the local people, which is celebrated annually at the Kutubu Kundu and Digaso Festival.
WWF-PNG’s underlying idea for developing bird watching and nature tourism is to encourage visitors to the annual Kutubu Digaso Festival and appreciate the rich cultural and natural biodiversity that the region uniquely offers.