by Meleasie Goviro – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Tonda Wildlife Management Area is one of the most diverse in the larger group of wetlands in the world, but is currently under threat from industrial pressure.
Concerned individuals including the Minister for Sports and National Event Planning, Justin Tkatchenko, have been regular visitors to the area and have now written a book dedicated to the conservation of the Wildlife Management Area.
The Tonda, is a 112-page hard cover book that depicts the Tonda Wildlife Management Area in the Western Province in words and brilliant photography.
Glen Armstrong wrote The Tonda with collective contributions from Justin Tkatchenko and Laurence Roe, better known as ‘Rocky’ Roe.
The book features interviews with Rocky Roe, Justin Tkatchenko and local villagers near Bensbach and owner of the Bensbach Fishing Lodge.
These interviews expose the challenges that threaten the conservation of the wildlife are.
According to Tkatchenko, The Tonda was published in this way to promote the idea of it becoming a nature park to secure and preserve the natural habitat, as well cultures and traditions for future generations.
The book exhibits some of the most spectacular photographs by Rocky Roe that capture the raw natural beauty of the Tonda Wildlife Conservation Area, its people and their cultures, the flora and the fauna.
Tkatchenko said the area’s only source of security at the moment was the wetland, that keeps out Indonesian poachers from over the border. The Indonesian poachers are believed to occasionally cross over to hunt the rare deer population in the area.
The PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, addressed those at the event saying in a letter that was read out that night, that the government was committed to preserving the unique and natural beauty of our country;
“Our next challenge is to establish the the Tonda Wildlife Area as a national park.”
Powes Parkop, NCD Governor, who was also there to officiate the books launching was of the opinion that Papua New Guineans shouldn’t just settle for declaring it as a national park but to seek World Heritage status.