Rescue centre underway for Park

Papua New Guinea’s only accredited zoo – the Port Moresby Nature Park is in the construction stages of building a rescue centre for the animals with funding support from New Crest Mining Limited.

Once completed, the K400,000 Tree Kangaroo Rescue and Breeding Centre will house up to eighteen individual, in addition to the thirteen tree kangaroos that already call the Nature Park home.

The Nature Park currently houses three different species of tree kangaroos including the endangered Matchies, Goodfellows and the vulnerable Doria’s Tree Kangaroo. The new tree kangaroo rescue centre would enable the Nature Park to house other species in the future.

The Park highlights that this is a vital step towards the Park being able to contribute to the research of tree kangaroos whilst housing surrendered animals in a purpose built facility. It will also enable the Park to work towards a breeding for release program, which will contribute to the numbers of tree kangaroos in the wild.

The Park’s Interim CEO Kelsey Engle says the centre will help the Park accommodate for animals that have been injured or surrendered.

“And then we can look to either rehabilitate and reintroduce them if we can but if we need to care for them for a long-term period then that will allow us some space.”

Engle says the advantage of such a specific purpose-built facility for the tree kangaroos means that the Park can also supplement with regards to a breeding program.

“The more that we can learn about all of the different species the better that is in the long run,” said Engle.

The Interim CEO said many of the animal species at the Nature Park are not held anywhere else in other facilities outside Papua New Guinea.

“So anything that we can learn, any of our success stories are not only success for PNG but global successes.”

Newcrest Head of Strategic Engagement in the country Tim Bryson says Newcrest Mining’s support to the Port Moresby Nature Park aligns with their vision to support Papua New Guinea’s protection of its environment and biodiversity. 

“Newcrest Mining’s support will enable the Nature Park to accept more surrendered wildlife.  Once rehabilitated, many of the animals will be released.  Once the tree kangaroo rescue centre is completed, the Nature Park also has the technical skills to embark on conservation breeding programs for those species listed as endangered,” said Bryson.

Unfortunately, it is all too common that tree kangaroos are hunted from the wild and end up in markets to be sold and killed for their meat or for their fur.  Many tree kangaroos are endangered and populations continue to decline so efforts for greater protection and enforcement is needed.

Fortunately, Nature Park states that the Conservation and Environment Protection Agency (CEPA) and UNDP are working to increase Protected Areas across PNG, and with the help of partners like the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, based in Morobe and the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, based in Lumi; efforts to work with local community groups to stop hunting of tree kangaroos has been successful.

With further research and support, more conservation work can be done remotely to conserve especially our endangered species of trees kangaroos. Port Moresby Nature Park states they are so grateful to Newcrest for their commitment to partner with them to save tree kangaroos.

Marysila Kellerton