Monday, February 06, 2006


Reuters has a peculiar Monday night (stateside) report about an Indonesian jungle in the mountains, where "dozens of exotic new species of birds, butterflies, frogs and plants" frolic.

According to Reuters:
"It's as close to the Garden of Eden as you're going to find on Earth," said Bruce Beehler, co-leader of the U.S., Indonesian, and Australian expedition to part of the cloud-shrouded Foja mountains in the west of New Guinea.

Indigenous peoples living near the Foja range, which rises to 2,200 metres, said they did not venture into the trackless area of 3,000 sq km -- roughly the size of Luxembourg or the U.S. state of Rhode Island.

The team of 25 scientists rode helicopters to boggy clearings in the pristine zone.

"We just scratched the surface," Beehler told Reuters. "Anyone who goes there will come back with a mystery."

The expedition found a new type of honeyeater bird with a bright orange patch on its face, known only to local people and the first new bird species documented on the island in over 60 years. They also found more than 20 new species of frog, four new species of butterfly and plants including five new palms.

And they took the first photographs of "Berlepsch's six-wired bird of paradise", which appears in 19th century collections but whose home had previously been unknown.

The bird is named after six fine feathers about 4 inches long on the head of the male which can be raised and shaken in courtship displays.
The Indonesian government is reportedly keeping the land off-limits to most plunderers. According to Reuters, the scientists cut but two trails, each about two miles long, through the formerly pristine area, "leaving vast tracts still to be explored." Great.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm all for science and exploration, but sometimes it would really be nice if more effort was put into taking better care of what we already have instead of finding more we can desecrate and obliterate.