The Papua Insects Foundation
Merauke and the TransFly Region
One would not expect a rather undisturbed area near such a relatively large town as Merauke in the south of New Guinea. All around Merauke, however, unexplored forested areas still exist. These lowland forests are in some cases very impervious and others much easier to penetrate. Close to the city the forest has, as to be expected, a more disturbed secundair character. In the east, attached to the border with Papua New Guinea is the WWF Wasur-Rawa Biru National Park, a large area of 412,387 ha, which is continued at the PNG side with the Tonda Wildlife Reserve. In the north National Park Danau Bian is located, an area of 69,390 ha. Together they are part of a much larger area in whole South New Guinea (including PNG), the TransFly region (about 2 million ha). The area contains lowland savanna, mangrove and monsoon forests.
The fauna and flora is remarkable divers for a lowland forest with a strong Australian character. Eucalyptus and Acacia are typical Australian elements. Northwards more real Papuan elements appear like Sago, at the coastal areas we find mangrove and Nipa palmforests.
The Indonesian government officially recognizes two tribes who inhabit the Wasur NP: the Marind and Kanum, with more than 3000 people in about 10 villages.
Lowland forest in the Wasur National Park (photo: Henk van Mastrigt)
Base of map by onearth.jpl.nasa.gov (modified with geographic names by Papua-Insects)