You might not think that much happens on the sidelines of village football games besides shouting for your team. But the patch of grass that serves as a pitch in Gadaisu village, Papua New Guinea is a hotbed for conservation.
To mark World Wildlife Day, Gadaisu invited seven other local villages to a cross-community festival of games, education and feasting. The main focus was football and volleyball matches, and between the fierce competition for the mini-tournament title, Cool Earth’s partners were telling their neighbours about how the support has helped them build livelihoods and resilience to extreme weather. It’s events like these that spread Cool Earth’s work and build the network of rainforest partnerships.
As this mini-festival was in honour of wildlife, biodiversity officer Nicky Roma was keen to show everyone the photos captured by his camera traps in nearby Wabumari. The community there is reporting an increase in wildlife in the local area – a really positive sign. From hornbills roosting in the mangroves, to lizards in the undergrowth, there are also parrots, bandicoots, mice, snakes, wallaby and a new crocodile.
‘The gathering at Gadaisu was so nice and good. Three communities came together and the awareness on the forest conservation and climate change was interesting.’ Nicky Roma
The evidence of these species is another reason for the local people to keep their rainforest safe. Despite living in the forest for generations, some members of the community may never have seen some species. In the case of the crocodile, they’d rather not. The camera traps help raise awareness of the creatures that share their forest. Not only to help show how vital conservation is for a healthy forest, but for essential sources of protein and medicine for local communities.
The day was went down a treat, and demand was so great that another event has been planned for World Environment Day in June. More community games, more spreading the word and more victories for wildlife.