Tuesday, February 07, 2006

News that gives pause

This news makes me happy. I can't say why, exactly, other than to explain that I'm a wilderness-loving, card-carrying member of the Sierra Club. Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that nowhere in this story is there mention of a suicide bombing, of tsunamis, earthquakes or fires, of violence and death due to the flushing of a book down a toilet or the simple caricature of someone whom no living person has ever seen.

In any case, BBC News ran a story today with the following headline: "New species found in Papua 'Eden'". Here are some excerpts:
An international team of scientists says it has found a "lost world" in the Indonesian jungle that is home to dozens of new animal and plant species.

"It's as close to the Garden of Eden as you're going to find on Earth," said Bruce Beehler, co-leader of the group....

"It's beautiful, untouched, unpopulated forest; there's no evidence of human impact or presence up in these mountains," Dr Beehler told the BBC News website.

"We were dropped in by helicopter. There's not a trail anywhere; it was really hard to get around."

He said that even two local indigenous groups, the Kwerba and Papasena people, customary landowners of the forest who accompanied the scientists, were astonished at the area's isolation.

"The men from the local villages came with us and they made it clear that no one they knew had been anywhere near this area - not even their ancestors," Mr Beehler said.
The article goes on to describe the many new species discovered as well as the solving of a major ornithological mystery: the location of the homeland of Berlepsch's six-wired bird of paradise.

Amazing to think that the 7-odd billion of us didn't know of this "Eden's" existence until now, but surely this is the last such place on our ever-shrinking planet....


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