Deforestation threatens tree kangaroo habitat in Papua New Guinea

Deforestation threatens tree kangaroo habitat in Papua New Guinea

The forests of northwestern Papua New Guinea are home to a group of wide-eyed and reclusive marsupials known as tree kangaroos. As their name suggests, they spend a lot of their lives in the canopy and depend on the forest for survival. For more than a decade, conservationists and scientists have been working to protect a 1,850-square-kilometer (714-square-mile) area of broadleaf tropical forest in and around the Torricelli Mountains where these animals thrive. But the recent construction of what appears to be a logging road has proponents of the proposed Torricelli Mountain Range Conservation Area worried. And now, satellite imagery has shown a surge in recent tree cover loss since Aug. 1. “Yes, the logging continues — they are relentless,” Jim Thomas, CEO of the Tenkile Conservation Alliance (TCA), said of the recent deforestation along what would be the northern border of the conservation area in an email. The TCA takes its name from one of the tree kangaroo species that haunts the region. Also known as the Scott’s tree kangaroo, the tenkile (Dendrolagus scottae) is critically endangered, as is the weimang, or golden-mantled tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus pulcherrimus), which also lives in the Torricellis. Satellite imagery from the University of Maryland reveals new tree cover loss around a logging road in the Torricelli Mountain Range. Image by Morgan Erickson-Davis. The satellite data come from the Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) lab at the University of Maryland. After months of sporadic activity in this part of PNG’s Sandaun province, the characteristic…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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