This is perhaps the most sought after birds in the world. People have hunted the Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) since hundreds of years ago. Because of the continuous hunting, it is now facing extinction in several parts of New Guinea or West Papua's forest. The lowland and lower montane rainforests which are the natural habitat of Lesser Birds of Paradise are shrinking rapidly due to deforestation and conversion of forests into monoculture plantations, road construction, mining and the development of new human settlements. Hunters carrying air guns like to go into the jungle to shoot cuscus, soa-soa (monitor lizards) and birds.
There are several sites in West Papua where this paradise bird can still be watched. One of them is Susnguakti forest. It is a 1-hour ride from Manokwari town. There are four or five trees that have been chosen by the birds of paradise as the place where they perform courtship dance in the mornings and in the afternoons just before sunset. The trees stand on a hill with steep slope. I've got some photographs of them. I hope that I can make better pictures in the future. As a nature lover and eco-tourism enthusiast, I try to empower local people to protect the area by offering birdwatching tours to tourists who want to watch birds of paradise. I hope that this environmentally friendly eco-tourism scheme will help local Papuan villagers generate alternative income that can replace their present livelihood.
Birds and Wild Animals
In addition to the Lesser Birds of Paradise, Susnguakti forest is also the natural habitat of King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Hooded Butcherbird, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Coconut Lorikeet, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmouth.
Animals such as snakes, soa-soa monitor lizard, large ground brown skink, Papua Dragon Tree Lizard, blue-tailed lizard, Cruiser Butterfly (Vindula arsinoe), the Silky Owl Buterfly (Taenaris catops), Swallow tail blue mountain butterfly (Papilio ulysses) butterflies, beetles and fireflies can also be found in this forest.
A lot of species of plants exist in the jungle of Arfak mountains. They include bamboos, big trees, orchids, and glowing mushrooms.
I create some drawings of birds using watercolour pencils and using digital software. The artworks can raise the awareness of people about the importance of rainforest ecosystem and the protection of birds to human life. Birds spread the seeds of fruits which they eat. They directly help grow and protect rainforest. The above bird art can be purchased as printed artworks on mugs, t-shirts, stickers, spiral notebook, pillows, cell phone cases and etc.