Wed, 30 Apr 2003

Papua's orchids face extinction

JAYAPURA, Papua: The 2,770 orchid species found in Papua are in danger of extinction because of rampant theft, says Papua Governor Jaap Solossa.

"Illegal hunters are looting these beautiful orchid species from the vast forests in the province. We need an orchid seedling plantation to prevent the protected species from disappearing," he said when opening an orchid exhibit here on Tuesday.

He said the wholesale felling of trees in industrial forests also contributed to the decreasing number of orchid species in the province.

Many of Papua's orchid species are known worldwide because of their unique forms and colors.

Papuan Orchid Association (PAI) chairwoman Regina Karma said her association was trying to empower locals to farm orchids to improve their welfare.

"Besides running several plantations, PAI also supplies orchids from locals for export," she said. --JP