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YUS Conservation Area, Papua New Guinea

ProtectingTree Kangaroos and Echidnas

Partners: Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program and Airbus Foundation

Key Species: Matschie's tree kangaroo, Eastern long-beaked echidna, Pesquet's parrot, dwarf cassowary, New Guinea Harpy eagle, plush coated ringtail possum, bandicoot

2023 Award Winner 

The lush and rugged landscape of Papua New Guinea is home to the endangered Matschie's tree kangaroo and the Eastern long-beaked echidna. With their populations dwindling due to habitat encroachment and illegal activities, these rare creatures desperately need our help. But monitoring their expansive habitat has been an uphill battle. Rangers can only patrol certain areas on foot and existing satellite imagery is too low-resolution to meet the requirements of the community programmes.

Enter the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP), on a mission to turn the tide in favour of these fascinating animals. By integrating community monitoring with drones and new satellite imagery, TKCP aims to provide critical data to inform community-led management actions, addressing conservation threats head-on in the YUS Conservation Area.

The imagery, donated by Airbus Foundation, will help monitor land use, deforestation and encroachment threats, providing valuable information to local communities, landowners and other stakeholders. This data will give them a holistic understanding of what is happening across the landscape, enabling local communities to integrate local knowledge and make shared decisions on environmental issues, natural resources and sustainable land use across the mighty 162,683-hectare landscape. 

Empowering local communities with data-collection and insights

In addition, this project will bolster the efforts of the YUS Conservation Area Rangers by providing them with mapping technology and training. The use of satellite technology will be complemented by engaging local communities in nature conservation, thereby facilitating the collection of valuable field data to verify the satellite information.  Members of the community will be responsible for patrolling the area and gathering on-the-ground data, which will then be superimposed onto the satellite imagery in order to pinpoint areas of focus. They will also work closely with local landowners to record observations, activities and potential threats within designated zones, thereby enabling a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the conservation needs of the region. 

A brighter future for the YUS Conservation Areas

Ultimately, the project hopes to support the YUS Conservation Area's long-term goals by preventing selective harvesting of timber and forest products, maintaining wildlife corridors and enhancing reforestation and revegetation in target zones. The success of this project will ensure that the YUS Conservation Area's rich biodiversity, including the tree kangaroos, echidna and an estimated 5,000 species of flora and fauna will continue to thrive in one of the most botanically rich areas of the world.

EHRA Elephants3 (2)
Danny Nane
Imagry Will Help
Danny (1)

Combining local, indigenous knowledge with the latest in technology, we will be able to help protect these endangered species and help the local landowners to be stewards of their forest and wildlife

Lisa Dabek, Senior Director, Papua New Guinea Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program

Species factfile

Matschie's tree kangaroo

A unique marsupial inhabiting the rainforests of Papua New Guinea. They are a member of the marsupial family Macropodidae, which includes other kangaroo species like the red kangaroo and the grey kangaroo. However, unlike its ground-dwelling relatives, Matschie's tree kangaroo is adapted to live in the trees. It has a long tail for balance, sturdy forelimbs for climbing and strong claws for gripping tree trunks and branches. 

The kangaroo's muscular hind legs, which are a characteristic feature of all kangaroo species, are relatively shorter and less developed as they do not need to hop on the ground like their terrestrial relatives. Sadly, these charismatic kangaroos are classified as endangered due to habitat loss and hunting.

Eastern long-beaked echidna

A remarkable mammal found exclusively in New Guinea, and is one of only five species of monotremes in the world. These unique animals possess snouts equipped with electroreceptors that enable them to detect the electrical signals emitted by invertebrates such as earthworms and insects, which make up their diet. With strong, clawed limbs, they are well adapted for digging through soil and leaf litter to find prey.

Sadly, the species is facing severe threats, including habitat loss and hunting, which have led to population fragmentation and decline. As a result, the Eastern long-beaked echidna is classified as critically endangered.


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