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Papua New Guinea Nature and Wildlife

  • Greater bird of paradise
  • Crowned pigeon
  • Explore the waters

Much of Papua New Guinea has remained untouched and is unknown to scientists, therefore it is near impossible to give a totally accurate number of the species who inhabit it. The population of PNG is low, but the levels of biodiversity are high which allows for conservation opportunities not found anywhere else in the world.

There are at least 190 species of mammals in Papua New Guinea, many of them closely related to those found in Australia including marsupials like possums, wallabies and rodents. All six of the tree kangaroo species found in Papua New Guinea are endemic to the island. Despite being rather clumsy on land, these kangaroos are incredibly at home in trees. Their agility allows them to leap from tree to tree with downward jumps of around 9m (30ft) being recorded.

Papua New Guinea boasts the world’s largest pigeon (the Southern crowned pigeon) as well as the world’s smallest parrot (the Red-breasted pygmy parrot) and is home to a staggering 781 known bird species - 76 of which are native. One of the most interesting birds found in this part of the world is the Cassowary. The Cassowary can grow to almost 6ft tall (with some females surpassing this) and can weigh over 100lbs. Although they are known to be very shy, if disturbed or provoked, they can cause serious injury.

Recent discoveries in Papua New Guinea have uncovered the smallest frogs in the world: Paedophryne-dekot and P. verrucosa, both of which are smaller than an M&M candy. They are only two of approximately 160 frog species found in Papua New Guinea. Along with frogs, there are many lizards (approximately 170 species) and snakes (approximately 110 species) that call this nation home.

Accompanying the diverse fauna in Papua New Guinea is an equally impressive amount of flora species. There are more than 2,000 species of orchid and an additional 2,000 fern species. Approximately 8 out of 10 of these species are found only in Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea has the third largest rainforest in the world following only the Amazon and the Congo. It is therefore not surprising that scientists are still finding the remnants of plants from the Gondwana supercontinent from over a million years ago.

Nature conservation and preservation have become a major issue in Papua New Guinea as much of the lowland forests have been assigned to logging concessions thus threatening the habitats found there. Many international environmental groups have stepped in to help. One challenge they face is that land in Papua New Guinea is not privately owned, instead, the Organic Law of Papua New Guinea means that people can lease land from traditional land owners (usually tribe or clan members). This means that the government needs to consult with the landowners before any conservation decisions can be made regarding the use of traditional land.

Despite this challenge, over the past ten years, groups such as the Research and Conservation Foundation of Papua New Guinea and the PNG Institute for Biological Research have been working with the Wildlife Conservation Society of PNG to educate and train future conservation leaders.



Papua New Guinea Travel Information

At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Papua New Guinea. 

Learn about the history and culture of Papua New Guinea, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Papua New Guinea's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, and 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Papua New Guinea for yourself. Start exploring...book one of our Papua New Guinea tours today!


Extend Your Stay

Consider an additional stopover to your Papua New Guinea tours at one of Goway's other South Pacific destinations. You can choose from our selection of Australian vacations, New Zealand vacation packagesTahiti vacation packages, stay at one of our Fiji resorts or perhaps take a Cook Island vacation. This can be done stopping over en route to or from New Zealand.



Book your Papua New Guinea tour with Goway!

Goway's DOWNUNDER wizards offer many ways to explore, experience and enjoy amazing Papua New Guinea. There are different lodges for different regions, a stay in a Sepik riverboat as well as a luxury small vessel cruising in the region. We can also arrange adventure treks and diving experiences. Let us custom-design what will be your most amazing globetrotting journey.


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