It extends beyond a mere funding to one of genuine commitment by EMPNG to seeing the Park reach its full potential for the benefit of the community and for the preservation of PNG's amazing and diverse biodiversity.
Port Moresby Nature Park’s Chief Executive Officer, Michelle McGeorge, recently acknowledged its longest running partner ExxonMobil PNG for its support as one of its major sponsors.
She said the funding support provided by the operator of the PNG LNG Project since 2013 has helped to shape many areas of Nature Park, including exhibits for endangered tree kangaroos, a reptile house, birds-of-paradise precinct and other aviaries.
Ms McGeorge said the funds from ExxonMobil PNG enabled the Park to conduct meaningful research and breeding programs including support for Kikori's endangered Pig-nosed Turtles, tree kangaroos, birds-of-paradise and most recently, the breed-for-release frog programs.
“EMPNG’s funds helped the Park during its most critical time during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and we were able to continue providing food and the highest standards of animal care and welfare to the animals, arguably the most significant collection of PNG wild animals in a single location.
“As well as that, the release of 47 pig-nosed turtles into the Wau Creek Conservation Area last year with ExxonMobil staff was a milestone for conservation,” she said.
The creation and delivery of the Park’s internationally award-winning schools education programs have reached over 125,000 NCD and Central Province school children since 2012 and has been funded through ExxonMobil PNG.
“By thinking outside-the-box, ExxonMobil PNG enabled us to re-purpose unused camp and office buildings from the LNG Plant site to convert them into staff training and meeting facilities, as well as create a commercial kitchen to run our cafe.
“A number of old storage and shipping containers were also relocated and have been used for multiple purposes included the main housing of the reptile collection in the Reptile Haus, which was recognized with the 'Best Exhibit Design - Small Scale Development' Award from the Zoo and Aquarium Association of Australasia,” Ms McGeorge said.
The containers are also used to store animal food and supplies and one of them was converted to a 'live-animal insect breeding room', a vitally important area and function required to ensure the Park’s staff can feed and replicate the natural diets for many of the animals including the Birds of Paradise, who love to eat maggot larvae and crickets.
Even the 'smokers-boxes' at the LNG Plant site have found a new home at the Nature Park converted into off-display areas for animals undergoing medical treatment or quarantine periods.
EMPNG also provides IT support to the Park. The Park started with four independent desktop computers and with multi-year support of the ExxonMobil IT (EMIT) department, it has helped built their capacity.
It now has 35 computers with a dedicated server that can cater for a score of complex programs that run their ticketing, bookings, memberships, accounting, payroll, and inventory and wildlife management software.
McGeorge said in addition to IT support, the EMIT department has donated to the Park over the years with some of them being the computer servers, desktop computers, laptops and television screens. Every donation received from them has helped to move the Park forward.
“Besides the donation, funding and infrastructure support, the volunteer hours that hundreds of ExxonMobil PNG staff have dedicated over the years have played a part in shaping the stories, memories and experiences of those that have walked through our gates.
“I want to acknowledge the hundreds of passionate ExxonMobil PNG staff that have volunteered their time at the Park for the Saturday 'ExxonMobil working bees'. From painting fences, shifting piles of sand into the kid’s playground and planting plants across the grounds,” Ms McGeorge said.
She said the insight and leadership from ExxonMobil PNG’s Dale Pittman, Dinesh Sivasamboo, Keith Killian and Scott Sandlin have been invaluable and contributed to shaping the Park's journey and future.