Logging threats loom over tree kangaroo refuge in Papua New Guinea

Logging threats loom over tree kangaroo refuge in Papua New Guinea

The tree kangaroos inhabiting a forested mountain range in Papua New Guinea have made an unlikely comeback in the past 40 years, but old dangers now jeopardize that rebound. Three species of the Dendrolagus genus — arboreal marsupials about twice the size of a house cat — haunt the leafy tropical canopy of the Torricelli Mountains, which top out at 1,650 meters (5,410 feet). Two of them remain critically endangered, according to the IUCN, but populations of all three species have leapt and their known ranges expanded. Over the past two decades, investments in conservation and the development of human communities appear to have held off the twin threats of logging and hunting that had pushed the Torricellis’ tree kangaroos to the edge of extinction. In spite of this success, threats to the forests vital to tree kangaroos and a host of other species have resurfaced. Satellite imagery reveals a spike in forest loss and roadbuilding over the past year in and around the core areas of forests that communities have been working to conserve since the early 2000s. In addition, in October 2022, logging companies reportedly began sending representatives to at least three villages to seek consent to harvest the area’s valuable timber in exchange for money and beer. Fidelis Nick, a project officer with an NGO called the Tenkile Conservation Alliance and a resident of the Torricelli village of Muku, said these companies likely have the backing of the federal government, which has the power to issue permits. “That’s…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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