A six week-long expedition last year off Indonesia’s Bird’s Head peninsula made ocean lovers of millions of people around the world.
Our scientists observed sharks walking on fins and recorded four times as many coral species here as in the entire Caribbean Sea – all in an area the size of two football fields, just a tiny slice of the Bird’s Head Seascape. The possibilities are endless in these waters of Papua province, considered one of the richest and least explored seascapes on Earth.
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The latest surveys estimate suggest this region holds more than 1,300 species of fish and a majority of the world’s known reef-building corals. Blue whales, manta rays, and humphead wrasse add to its diverse and unique marine wildlife, much of which scientists have yet to discover.
Despite its obvious wealth of species, only 11 percent of this magnificent seascape is protected. Already, the coral reefs are showing the consequences of human activity.
While the region’s overall population is low, people living on the peninsular coast depend heavily on the sea for their livelihoods. To keep those livelihoods intact, we’re helping build a regional network of community and government-endorsed marine protected areas that conserve Bird’s Head’s remarkable biological diversity and ensure the future of those who rely on it.
The Bird’s Head Seascape is undoubtedly a top priority for conservation.