Close to 80 plant species discovered in Western Province

Scientists have discovered close to 80 plant species atthe Hindenburg Wall located inthe Star Mountains of Western Province. Of this 17 are new species whilethe rest can only survive inthe area.

It’s considered one ofthe great wonders ofthe world. The Hindenburg Wall is one ofthe must see phenomena ofthe Star Mountains. The Wall is an immense cliff face up to 1km in height and 40 kilometres in length. It is also 10 kilometres curving east to north ofthe renowned Ok Tedi Mine.

The expedition was led by Wildlife Conservation Society, an NGO based in New York. It was funded bPNG Sustainable Development Program. The team comprisedInternational Scientists and scientists from UPNG andthe Department of Environment and Conservation.

The scientists discovered over 80 species new to science, from orchids, to plants, and animals.Including new species of plectanthrus or commonly known as spur flowers. It is grown as ornamental plants andthe leaf and root can be eaten. It can also be used for medicinal purposes in some societies. They are also used as food plants bythe larvae of some butterflies.

Withthe aid of camera traps,the team was able to capture pictures ofthe wildlife such as giant rats and marsupials. These are unique and can only be found atthe Hindenburg Wall.

The discoveries ofthe expedition will be futher researched and analysed byInternational Scientists. The data can be used to evaluate conservation priorities and monitor endangered species.  The final data should be made available next year. 

Beidgette Komatep, National EMTV News

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