Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program
With vast tracts of pristine forest containing unparalleled biodiversity, Papua New Guinea is considered to be one of three major Tropical Wilderness Areas left on earth (Conservation International).
The Huon Peninsula of PNG, where the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) is focused, is home to more endemic bird and mammal species than any other like-sized area in mainland New Guinea.
Unlike other parts of the world in which deforestation has taken a heavy toll, about 70% of PNG rainforests remain intact. However the country is now facing increasing mining and logging pressures. Combined with the resource demands of a growing population, these pressures threaten wildlife and the traditional culture of PNG's indigenous people.
Working Together to Protect Tree Kangaroos Dr. Lisa Dabek
Lisa Dabek started the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program in 1996 to study the endangered Matschie's tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) and look for ways to conserve this species in partnership with the local people. The program was originally formed through the Association of Zoos & Aquarium's Tree Kangaroo Species Survival Plan. The Matschie's tree kangaroo, endemic to the Huon Peninsula and has important cultural significance for the local indigenous people, serve as a flagship species for the program.
From its roots as a research project, TKCP has grown and evolved over the years, addressing the goals of species and habitat protection through a community-based approach that involves local landowners in decision-making and provides community benefits. For over a decade, the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) has been working with local landowners in Papua New Guinea to create and now manage the country's first Conservation Area on the Huon Peninsula, encompassing pristine cloud forest ecosystems and endangered tree kangaroo habitat.