Huon tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13254711
The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) began in 1996 as a conservation research study to determine the status of the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei). One of Papua New Guinea’s longest-running and most successful conservation efforts, TKCP works with local communities to establish and manage the YUS Conservation Area (YUS CA), named for the Yopno, Uruwa, and Som rivers, in Morobe Province. A Category VI IUCN Protected Area, the YUS CA is the first and only protected area of its type in PNG – providing protection at the landscape scale, wholly owned by local people, and with the support of the PNG Government for long-term protection. The Matschie’s tree kangaroo remains the flagship species for the overall conservation program, while TKCP has expanded to support the needs of wildlife, habitat, and communities throughout YUS. The YUS landscape, consisting of land pledged for conservation as well as buffer areas of mixed use, encompasses over 158,200 hectares ranging from sea level to 4,000 meters. 68% of the landscape is covered by a large unbroken track of rainforest; home to a rich faunal biodiversity.
TKCP is working together with the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and local communities to establish and strengthen ecosystem and species monitoring within the YUS Conservation Area. The project aims to establish and strengthen the YUS Conservation Area Ranger team; a critical component to the successful management of the YUS CA. The team of thirteen Rangers gathers important information about key endangered and threatened species, looks for signs of illegal activity, and serves as liaison with their local communities. First launched in 2011, the Ranger program is an innovative initiative and a model for the country. Rangers spend one week each month patrolling the YUS CA to document sightings of species and description of habitats, as well as making note of any YUS CA bylaw violations. Data and information is used to inform PNG government and the international community on the status of endangered species and key biodiversity areas, and shared with communities to inform decision-making and local conservation actions.
The project works to strengthen the YUS Conservation Area Ranger program by enhancing the capacity of Rangers to conduct monitoring patrols and collect information for managing and mapping endangered, threatened, and vulnerable species. The project provides resources to YUS CA Rangers for field work and for community engagement in order to increase awareness and facilitate species and habitat protection. Building on initial training in 2012 from James Cook University, Rangers receive continuous on-the-job training and equipment upgrades to improve patrol safety, capacity for species identification, field information collection, conservation efforts, and species protection. Rangers are educated on national environmental laws and YUS CA bylaws in order to strengthen their role as community liaisons and conservation champions. These new skills and knowledge will allow rangers to improve their effectiveness during patrols and work collaboratively with communities to develop conservation solutions. The project provides rangers with upgraded equipment to improve data collection and management, including GPS units, solar systems for field stations, and field laptops.
The YUS CA Ranger program is reviewed and evaluated annually to assess its effectiveness in providing information to guide YUS CA management decisions. The YUS CA Ranger program is an essential component to the sustainable long-term management of the YUS Conservation Area, and to the protection of the Matschie’s tree kangaroo.
Project 13254711 location - Papua New Guinea, Oceania