10 Feb 2006

"Lost World" of biodiversity in Papua should be protected from exploitation, says scientist

2:25 pm on 10 February 2006

The team which found a "lost world" of biodiversity in the unscathed jungle of Papua province in Indonesia is planning to go back later this year to study the area more.

Mammalogist Kris Helgen, who was among the small team of scientists which discovered dozens of new animal and plant species from their month of research in Papua's Foja mountains late last year, says they want to return at least once.

Mr Helgen says while the findings have triggered worldwide attention towards the pristine ecosystem which has survived so long, there is a need to ensure the area is protected from exploitation.

"This lost world has captured people's imaginations - both public and scientists alike. And we're going to continue to study it very carefully and I think we'll do everything we can and work with authorities to make sure that, as the years roll on, the place is looked after."

Kris Helgen says the team considered keeping the findings secret but decided to let the world know because it might encourage the Indonesians to protect it.