218 new plants, 43 new reptiles, 12 mammals, 580 invertebrates, 134 amphibians, 2 birds and 71 fish. That’s 1060 new species the World Wide Fund for NatureÂ calculated found on the island of New Guinea between 1998 and 2008; roughly two newÂ species each week. In their latest report,Â Final Frontier: Newly Discovered species of New Guinea (1998 â€“ 2008), WWF say New Guinea, the world’s largest tropical island, which has 0.5 percent of the world’s land mass but 6-8 percent of the world’s species, is under threat.
The island is divided in half, with one side the Indonesian province of Papua and the other the independent state of Papua New Guinea.
In this, the International Year of Forests, WWF are calling for better environmental protection of New Guinea’s great biodiversity.
Louise Maher spoke to Eric Verheij, WWF Western Melanesia’s conservation director, about diversity and conservation in New Guinea.