Indonesian New Guinea is one of the planet’s last frontiers: rugged mountains and rainforests conceal untold numbers of species and hundreds of cultures. But these forests—especially in the province of West Papua—are increasingly under threat from logging, mining, and conversion to plantations. The cultural heritage of the region is also at risk due to programs designed to encourage migration from other parts of the archipelago and placate restive native Papuan populations with special autonomy payments.
The following are some pictures from my July-August 2010 visit to the provinces of Papua (Wamena and Jayapura/Lake Sentani) and West Papua (Manokwari/Arfak Mountains).
The visit to the Arfak Mountains would not have been possible without logistical help from Charles Roring, who organizes trips with the support of local communities.
Blue weevil (Eupholus bennetti) near Manokwari.
Dani elder in traditional costume
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) near Manokwari.
Lake Sentani art.
Rope bridge near Wamena
Red katydid with a green head and black antennae
Armed clansmen in New Guinea
Black, turquoise, yellow, orange, brown, and pink grasshopper
Metallic blue, green, and orange beetle
Vogelkop Bowerbird bower with red fruit and other items to attract females
Dani woman with a cassowary headdress
Eupholus bennetti weevil
Black and deep orange butterfly
New Guinea rainforest
Traditional Mouley hut in the Arfak highlands outside of Manokrawi
Rainforest in the Arfak Mountains
Aerial view of a Winding lowland rainforest river reaching the coast of New Guinea
Coral reef and forest off the northern coast of New Guinea
Group in Dani in a highland village
Islands off Bird’s Head, northern New Guinea
Brown frog with neon green and blue markings
Papuan man in Wamena
Blue, yellow and orange grasshopper (male) mating with a green and turquoise grasshopper (female)