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Local Birdwatcher calls for conservation of Bird of Paradise

By Peter Solo Kinjap
AN Engan local man from Anji village in Wapenamanda District of Enga Province has called on the Government to preserve the rare species of Reggianna Bird of Paradise and other rare species of bird of Paradise. Max Mal, 45 years old, original from Anji Village of Wizzy Tribe said he would want the National Government to stop the street sales of Wildlife including birds and other animal species. He has been a local bird watcher with Kumul Lodge Tours for the last seven (7) years; escorting tourists for bird tours around his yard at Anji village and nearby villages in Enga and Western Highlands Provinces. “If people want to make money out of rare species of animals, they should keep them safely in its natural habitat somewhere convenient and invite tourists to pay to see it and not to sell them cheaply away for some cash that will finish the next day on the streets,” he added. 
The Bid of Paradise has a life-span of 5-years maximum and lays only one egg at a time for its reproduction. “If the current trend of mere neglecting is continued by the Government, we must expect to see no more free-living Reggianna Bird of Paradise, Lesser Bird of Paradise and other species of Bird of Paradise that are diminishing in numbers time after time by the year 2050,” Mr. Mal strongly emphasised.  He went on to say that the Government through the responsible statutory authorities and departments should take some prerogative measures to safeguard the nation’s singular living treasure and our national pride.
The Bird of Paradise has only two distinctive features that local men carefully take out to use as headdress for traditional costumes and singings. But most highlands tribes use more than two headdresses and this means that the hunt for more new Bird of Paradise for features will even reduce the numbers rapidly. “The Government must enact tougher laws to protect the gradually desertion of the precious bird – sometimes referred to as the birds of gods,” he added.  “I am surprised to see there is nothing done to protect the bird. There should be separate funding for a conservation program for Bird of Paradise,” a concern Mal said.  
Max Mal has a private backyard in his home at Anji Village and there are about ten (10) species of Bird of Paradise listed and he is taking every step possible to preserve and conserve. He feared what might happen when he is not around. Other locations in the highlands where Bird of Paradise dwells freely and breed are the Baiyer River Bird Sanctuary, Mt. Giluwe rainforest, Jimi valley, Tari Plateau, Kutubu basin, Upper Mendi valley and some places in Chimbu Province. 
Max Mal has been engaged in bird watching in the highlands region since he was a young boy, and is now among the most professional and experienced bird guides in the area.
Bird watching in the highlands is truly fantastic for both expert and occasional birdwatchers. Whether you are a bird-family specialist, a beginner birder, have a general interest in natural history, or are after something specific, he will have something for you. Max offers small group tours and customized trips for bird and wildlife enthusiasts.
Bird watching trips are always exciting, but sometimes it’s hard to find the good spots unless you are familiar with the area. As an experienced local bird watching guide, Max knows many bird watching places in the highlands region unknown to most guides. With Max, you will be guaranteed to spot at least ten birds of paradise species living not far away from his house, including: Ribbon tail Astrapia, King of Saxony, Brown Sickebill, Blue Bird of Paradise, Crested Bird of Paradise, Lesser Bird of Paradise, Greater Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, and Superb Bird of Paradise.

Max is passionate about the wildlife, especially the bird life and local orchids. When not leading tours, he spends much of his time conducting research, seeking out new locations to find rare birds and interesting habitats to give his visitors a wonderful experience of the real highlands country side lifestyle and nature.
Max Mal also has an orchid garden that he calls Paradise Orchid Gardens.  He occasionally arranges orchid tours for tourists coming to the Kumul Lodge and Bird Watching.

For queries about this article and the preservation of rare species of birds including the Bird of Paradise, contact local highlands Niugini Exotic Tours via email at: howarigc@gmail.com or contact local Bird Watcher Mal Max on his cell-phone: 71176894.

The writer is a PNG highlands tourism promoter under Howarig Traders – Tourism Marketing Agent based in Mt. Hagen, Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea.
Photo captions: 
Max Mal (centre) with tourist birdwatchers from Asia in his orchid yard at Anji Village, Enga Province. Photograph courtesy of Niugini Exotic Tours.
Max Mal’s Paradise Orchid Garden in Anji Village, Enga Province. Photograph courtesy of Niugini Exotic Tours. 

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