Why the Bird and Orchid Sanctuary in West Papua Is Worth A Visit

Tourism in west papua

There are a lot of beautiful things in nature in West Papua. They can attract many tourists to visit and return for more. We can consider birds and orchids as some of the main attractions in terms of flora and fauna. For tourism in West Papua, let’s have a closer look at the bird and orchid sanctuary this time.

Why are the Bird and Orchid Sanctuary in West Papua worth a visit?

Rich In Biodiversity

Tourism in west papua

As the youngest province and the most eastern part of Indonesia, West Papua is rich in biodiversity. Because of this, West Papua offers three possibilities for sustainable potentials:

  • Eco-tourism.
  • Sustainable eco-education.
  • Sustainable conservation opportunities.

West Papua is sharing the same land as Papua New Guinea. It is primarily located in 50% of its western land. It is dominated by greens, consisting of many ecosystems, like peatlands, forests, and many more. Many scientists consider these as “the last surviving green”, where many unidentified species may exist.

The Orchids

Tourism in west papua

The amount of forest here covers Indonesia by a third. In 2018, a local orchid was found here. It is called Bulbophyllum irianae. It was named after President Joko Widodo’s wife, Iriana.

John Mampioper, the sanctuary leader, claimed that people kept discovering new species in West Papua. That explains why the biodiversity potential is invaluable.

In West Papua, there are a large number of orchids. They are well-identified for their frail features and many colours as they bloom. There are about 2,500 species of orchids found here. That spectacular number practically covers almost half the country’s creatures. Some orchids here include:

  • Paphiopedilum glanduliferum.
  • Grammitis coredrosora.
  • Grammatophyllum papuanuum.

The last name mentioned, Grammatophyllum papuanuum, is popular as a giant orchid in West Papua. It is the kind of rare flower you may not be able to find anywhere else.

The Birds

Tourism in west papua

Then, what about the birds? Based on a survey done by Bird Watching Papua Adventure Travel , there are about 716 types of birds already observed in the island.

According to Mampioper, there are 17% of Indonesia’s global biodiversity, and 50% of them are found in Papua alone, including in Biak Island. That is why more research should be done here because there are still many mysteries unsolved.

Unfortunately, the threats to their existence are – and have always been – very real. The threats include deforestation, damage to the environment, and also illegal logging and hunting. They have made many efforts to tackle these threats and preserve nature. 

Conserving endemic species has been done in a lot of ways. One of them is by having a conservation park.

The Sanctuary for Orchids and Birds in Biak

Tourism in west papua

There are a bird and orchid sanctuary in Biak called TBTA (stands for Taman Burung dan Taman Anggrek – or the bird and orchid sanctuary in Indonesian.) It was established in the late 1980s by the Papuan provincial government. It was built as part of conserving the biodiversity in Papua. The birds and orchid endemics are the main priorities here.

TBTA is inside a 28-hectare forest. The plants and animals are well-kept safe, and cared for here. It is a zone out of site because these species are cared for outside their natural habitat. The Environment and Forestry Services manages TBTA in the province.

Then, after their 1990’s inauguration, a sanctuary was created in an area of five hectares. The rest of the perimeter was left without management. Thirty years after the establishment, a number of weaknesses were found. One of them was the master plan’s absence.

When the master plan was created, there were two (2) goals to keep the place running well:

  • Collecting, protecting, and conserving orchids, birds, and other endangered species, especially in Papua.
  • Developing the park into an eco-park or an eco-tourism and eco-education centre in Papua.

In 2018, the Manokwari Declaration strengthened the Papuan provincial government’s commitment to focus on promoting conservation. The Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has been collaborating with the Environment and Forestry Services of Papua Province to ensure that the master plan for the park is realized.

Why It Is Worth A Visit

Tourism in west papua

Still, according to Mampioper, the expansion of tourism in West Papua and Papua will benefit the local economy. Of course, if you are a lover of nature and keen on learning more about birds and orchids, this sanctuary is worth a visit. While inhaling the fresh air from nature, you get to enjoy the beautiful view around you.

Hopefully, with the number of more people visiting the bird and orchid sanctuary, more awareness regarding forest preservation is raised. In turns, people may find other ways of living without having to do illegal hunting, logging, and trade.

Visiting the bird and orchid sanctuary is important for the tourism in West Papua and Papua and the environment.

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