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Wasur National Park

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Title: Wasur National Park  
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Subject: Papua (province), Quoll, List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance, List of national parks of Indonesia, Fauna of New Guinea, Maro River
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Wasur National Park

Wasur National Park
Wasur NP
Location of Wasur NP in Papua
Location Papua, Indonesia
Nearest city Merauke
Coordinates

8°36′S 140°50′E / 8.600°S 140.833°E / -8.600; 140.833Coordinates: 8°36′S 140°50′E / 8.600°S 140.833°E / -8.600; 140.833

Area 4,138 km²
Established 1990
Visitors 2,265 (in 2004[1])
Governing body Ministry of Forestry

The Wasur National Park forms part of the largest wetland in Papua province of Indonesia and has been the least disturbed by human activity.[2] The high value of its biodiversity has led to the park being dubbed the "Serengeti of Papua".[2] The vast open wetland, in particular Rawa Biru Lake, attracts a very rich fauna.

Vegetation and fauna

About 70% of the total area of the Park consists of savanna (see Trans Fly savanna and grasslands), while the remaining vegetation is swamp forest, monsoon forest, coastal forest, bamboo forest, grassy plains and large stretches of sago swamp forest. The dominant plants include mangroves, Terminalia, and Melaleuca species.[2]

The park provides habitat for a large variety of up to 358 bird species of which some 80 species are endemic to the island of New Guinea. Fish diversity is also high in the region with some 111 species found in the eco-region and a large number of these are recorded from Wasur.[3] The Park's wetland provides habitat for various species of lobster and crab as well.

Common fauna species include the Agile Wallaby,[4] Pesquet's Parrot, Southern Cassowary, Blue Crowned Pigeon, Greater Bird of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Red Bird of Paradise, New Guinea Crocodile, and Saltwater Crocodile.[2]

Wasur National Park is the habitat for a number of rare and endemic species. Red-listed species known to be present in viable populations are Southern Crowned Pigeon and New Guinea Harpy Eagle, Dusky Pademelon, Black-necked Stork, Fly River Grassbird and Little Curlew. Three Trans-Fly endemic bird species have been recorded, including the Fly River Grassbird and the Grey-crowned Munia.[3]

The introduction of the Rusa Deer to Papua by the Dutch at Merauke in 1928, lead to an extensive spread of this species to most of the southern coastlands of the island. According to the indigenous communities of the National Park, this led to major changes to the local ecosystem, including: the reduction of tall swamp grasses and consequent ceasing of breeding of the Australian Pelican and Magpie Goose, reduction of the Phragmites reed species, and the extensive spread of Melaleuca onto the open grasslands.[5]

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) conservation and development project since 1991.[3] In 1995 a Tri-National Wetlands Program has been initiated by WWF between Wasur NP, Tonda WMA and the Australian Kakadu National Park, which lead to a Memorandum of Understanding between the three government conservation agencies in 2002.[6]

Human habitation

There are four groups of indigenous peoples living in the park, belonging to the tribes of Kanume, Marind, Marori and Yei, who rely on the area for food and their daily needs. The total population is estimated to be 2,500 within 14 villages.[7] The name of the park is derived from the Marori language in which Waisol means garden.[8] These local communities consume fish, sago, sweet potato, deer, bandicoot and wallaby. Many aspects of their culture are disappearing although some elements such as festivals, pig feasts, dancing, weaving and traditional cooking remain. There are many sites of spiritual significance including sacred sites. The southern part of the park has large areas of ancient agricultural mounds which are of archaeological importance.[3]

Threats

Much of the park's natural flooded grassland systems are threatened by large scale changes to scrub and woodland as well as invasions of alien species such as water hyacinth and mimosa pigra. The New Guinea Crocodile habitat is in danger as a consequence of skin trading.[3] As in other parts of Indonesia and New Guinea, illegal logging has been witnessed in Wasur National Park as well.[9]

See also

References

External links

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