Bird Watching Project At Stake

By Meleasie Goviro – EM TV News, Port Moresby

The surprise attack on a Japanese consultant, Yoshito Mochizuki, and CEPA-JICA officers at the Varirata Park outside Port Moresby has raised concerns for the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority.

They fear the incident could possibly jeopardize the bird watching project for which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed about two weeks ago between CEPA-JICA, PAU, Koiari LLG and PNGTPA.

The PNGTPA is working in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) on a five year bird watching project to identify key birding areas at the Varirata National Park.

The parties look to identify bird watching hotspots suitable for developing an ecotourism package with the potential to generate income.

PNGTPA is concerned that the recent attack may cause JICA to withdraw.

TPA Policy and Planning Coordinator, Heni Dembis, was outraged at such unexceptional behavior and even more so because they were not locals.

Dembis said it was unfair on Koairi landowners who have been cooperating and could possibly jeopardize their chances of being direct beneficiaries once the project is complete.

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