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Papua New Guinea declares first national conservation area
Date:3/2/2009

the acceptance and respect of landowners, who have set aside portions of their land as a pledge to conservation. Today, the YUS Conservation Area consists of land pledged by more than 35 villages, forming a continuous stretch from coastal reefs to the 4,000-meter (13,000-foot) peaks of the western Saruwaged Mountains.

In exchange for this commitment to conservation, TKCP works with community leaders to increase access to education and improve community health within the villages. TKCP also will assist in formalizing a local community-based organization, which will be responsible for managing the YUS Conservation Area as well as the community livelihood projects in the villages of the surrounding YUS ecosystem.

Preservation of Matschie's tree kangaroos first brought Dabek to the remote Huon Peninsula more than a decade ago. Today she is recognized as a world leader in tree kangaroo conservation. With support from National Geographic and Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) institutions, Dabek and TKCP have conducted long-term research on tree kangaroo ecology and mapped the area with YUS landowners to identify critical habitat areas for preservation.

"Creating this conservation area is a step forward for both Papua New Guinea and conservation worldwide," Dabek said. "What we have accomplished here is more than just an act of environmental preservation it's a sustainable model for community-based conservation that works."

Partners in the years of effort that culminated in creation of the YUS Conservation Area include the local communities, TKCP and its international staff, Woodland Park Zoo, CI, the Morobe Provincial government, PNG National Executive Council, and PNG Department of Environment and Conservation. TKCP and CI will continue to work with the PNG government and local communities to seek creation of additional conservation areas in the country, using the YUS area as a model.

The German government, committed to h
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Contact: Tom Cohen
tcohen@conservation.org
703-341-2729
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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