Thought for decades to be extinct in the wild, the New Guinea singing dog populations hang on to survival in the remote mountains and forests of New Guinea. They were last spotted in 2017 near the Grasberg gold and copper mine in West Papua.
This powerful raptor has unusual proportions with a large prominent head, a powerful large bill and large eyes with piercing brown or orange irises. Their robust and chesty build tapers down to extremely elongated legs in a brown-grey or orange colour. As Papuan eagles age, the colour of their eyes becomes more vivid, with one 30 year old eagle possessing red eyes.
Endemic to West Papua and Papua New Guinea, the Papuan eagle was once found on every part of the island, however their range has decreased rapidly due to deforestation for palm oil, timber and mining. Their main habitat is undisturbed tropical rainforests, monsoon scrub forests, dry woodlands and in extremely rare cases, forest edges and they are found at elevations of up to 3,200 – 3,700 metres.
Philippine Eagles are classified as Critically Endangered due to enormous habitat decline and anthropogenic threats. There are estimated to be 180-600 eagles left in the wild. Forest destruction and fragmentation, through commercial timber extraction and shifting cultivation, is the principal long-term threat. Much of the land surrounding Davao has been converted from forest land to agricultural to grow banana, coffee, cacao, palm oil and another oil-producing plant called jatropha.
Dr Sophie Chao is an environmental anthropologist and environmental humanities scholar interested in the intersections of capitalism, ecology, Indigeneity, health, and justice in the Pacific.
Palm Oil Detectives is honoured to interview to Dr Sophie Chao about her research into the impacts of palm oil on the daily lives of Marind people and other sentient beings in West Papua.
I wrote In the Shadow of the Palms because I wanted the world to understand how deforestation and industrial oil palm expansion are undermining Indigenous ways of being in West Papua.
From Roman classics to British tabloids, humans have long celebrated the curious and remarkable ability of birds to imitate the sounds of humans and other animals. A recent surge of research is revealing how and why birds use vocal mimicry to further their own interests, as we discuss in Biological Reviews. Anastasia Dalziell, Cornell UniversityContinue reading “The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit”
Seri’s Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus stellarum Vulnerable Location: Papua New Guinea; West Papua The Seri’s Tree Kangaroo is a large tree kangaroo that needs primary upper montane tropical forests. This species is threatened by heavy hunting pressure, this includes hunting with dogs (trophy jaws were still very much in evidence in 2000; T. Flannery pers. comm.Continue reading “Seri’s Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus stellarum”