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Indonesia's 'Lost World' reveals more surprises
Date:12/17/2007

Arlington, Virginia (Dec. 16, 2007) A tiny possum and a giant rat were recorded by scientists as probable new species on a recent expedition to Indonesias remote and virtually unknown Lost World in the pristine wilderness of western New Guineas Foja Mountains.

Conservation International (CI) and Indonesia Institute of Science (LIPI) scientists were accompanied by the first film crew to obtain footage of the region and its wildlife on an expedition to the Fojas in June 2007. A National Geographic photographer/scientist and a CBS News camera crew joined the team as they returned to the mountains. CI and LIPI scientists discovered dozens of new plants and animals on their first expedition to the region in late 2005. An account of the 2007 expedition was aired on the CBS News program, 60 Minutes on Dec. 16.

Its comforting to know that there is a place on earth so isolated that it remains the absolute realm of wild nature, said CI Vice President Bruce Beehler, who led the expedition. We were pleased to see that this little piece of Eden remains as pristine and enchanting as it was when we first visited.

The Foja Wilderness is part of the great Mamberamo Basin, the largest unroaded tropical forest in the Asia Pacific region. As the global community searches for solutions to climate change, large untouched forested areas such as these will become more and more valuable as essential carbon sinks.

The cutting and burning of tropical forests worldwide emits at least 20 percent of total global greenhouse gases. Protecting these forests minimizes the impact of climate change while providing direct benefits to local populations, such as fresh water, clean air, food, seed dispersal, pollination and sources of medicines.

The Indonesian Government has declared the region a National Wildlife Sanctuary, and CI continues to work with the government and local communities to build on this conservation success and ensure even grea
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Contact: Lisa Bowen
lbowen@conservation.org
703-341-2601
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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