West Papua Forest: A Sanctuary for These Unique Flora & Fauna

West Papua Forest
Sumber : good news from indonesia

Indonesia might be known for its abundance of rainforests. However, in the last few decades, many forest areas, especially in Java and Sumatra, have decreased significantly due to commercial plantation and infrastructure development. Thus, the West Papua forest has become one of Indonesia’s last forest frontiers. 

Not only that, it’s beneficial for the climate and the environment. West Papua forest is home to thousands of unique flora and fauna; some are native to the land and considered the keystone species. 

It means if the forest area is depleting, there’s a chance that these florae and faunas will go extinct. Thus, it becomes clear why the West Papua forest holds tremendous significance for Indonesia and the world in general. 

West Papua Forest
Sumber : merah putih

As mentioned that the West Papua forest is the habitat for much native flora and fauna, this article will discuss some of those species and their unique features. 


Approximately over two thousand orchid flowers are found in West Papua Forest, some of which are solely found in this area, making them rare species. The very recent found is Bulbophyllum irianae,  a very rare orchid named after Indonesia’s first lady, Iriana. Many orchid flower species are found in this forest, such as Grammatophyllum papuanuum (also known as Irian giant orchid), Grammitis coredrosora, and Paphiopedilum glanduliferum, and many others. 

Wondiwoi Tree Kangaroo

A team of botanists from the UK found a miraculous discovery in 2018 when they came across a tree kangaroo in the middle of Wondiwoi Mountain, West Papua. Before the discovery, the said marsupial animal was considered extinct as its last record was dated over ninety years ago. 

The medium-sized animal is believed to be closely related to the tree wallaby. A pair of arms full of muscle makes them nimble enough to climb up the tree and spend most of their time above the ground. The site area where they were discovered was almost impossible to penetrate as thick walls of bamboo forest surround it. It could be a plausible explanation for why any human hasn’t seen the tree kangaroos for many decades.  


The Cassowary is a flightless bird endemic to Melanesia areas such as Papua and the North-East part of Australia. The most common species of Cassowary that could be found in the West Papua forest is the Southern Cassowary.  The rest of them that could also be found are northern Cassowary as well as dwarf Cassowary. 

Weighing up to 58 kilograms, the Cassowary is considered to be the second heaviest bird after Ostrich. Its weight, as well as small wings, contribute to why the bird couldn’t fly. As a trade-off, Cassowary could run fast up to 49 km per hour. The Cassowary is a solitary bird that is incredibly aggressive and territorial. To be able to reproduce, they have to ensure that no other cassowary bird claims the area. It means the declination of forest areas could directly cause the decline of this bird’s fertility rate.

Crocodile Monitor

It is recorded that there are over three hundred reptiles and amphibians discovered in the West Papua forest, one of which is Varanus salvadorii, also known as the Crocodile Monitor. This reptile is one of the biggest monitor lizards in the world. Measuring up to 114 cm in length, the crocodile monitor mostly dwells on the trees. The distinct feature that makes it different from another type of monitor lizard is its blunt nose. This feature also resembles a crocodile’s snout. Hence the name, crocodile monitor. The crocodile monitor could be found across Papua, but they mostly reside in the swamp area of the rainforest and the mangrove forest of West Papua.

These flora and fauna mentioned above are far from enough to describe the vast biodiversity of West Papua. However, learning them could be a good start to wrap our heads around the richness of the West Papua forest and why it is important to protect and preserve it.

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