By Rachel Shisei – EM TV News, Madang
The Binatang Research Station, preferably known as the Swire Research Station, is the largest well-equipped research station currently operating in Wanang 3, a very remote area in Madang Province.
The research station has collected more than 15,000 species of insects to which scientists abroad have identified only a quarter of the 15,000 within just a 50 hectare plot of Wanang.
The research station, apart from carrying out ecological research, trains locals who have become experts, specialising in sampling and identifying plants and animal groups.
“I can say exactly what type of birds, what colours and what sizes they are just by listening to their calls, and it’s all thanks to the Binatang Research Centre for giving me the opportunity,” said Luda John, a locally-trained specialist.
In 2012, French scientists launched a hot air and a helium balloon, to study plants and animals in treetops. Since the setting up of the 50 hectare plots, the research station has hosted numerous scientific researchers, both local and international.
One of the significant visitors to the station site is Prince Albert II of Monaco, who was very much impressed with the local scientists’ work.
“Just last year Prince Albert sponsored an extensive solar power system for the research station, which has really helped in providing much needed electricity, especially for the laboratory,” said Bradley Gewa, a moth specialist with the Binatang Research Centre.
The Binatang or Swire Research Station was established with the support from the Swire Steamships company, initially to provide accommodation and laboratory workspace for BRC staff.