19 Spectacular Species that are losing their Homes in the Indonesian Fires

Normally, I don’t bother getting into “environmental problems,” much less blogging about it, but a nerve has been struck. This time, it's far too close to home.

In the picture below, you’ll see a picture of our planet, as seen from a satellite. Smack in the center, covered by a big grey blur, is where Indonesia should be.
Indonesia Fires 2015 Seen by Satellite
Indonesian Fires seen by Satellite. Source: NASA
Hidden beneath a veil of smoke --so vast, it can be captured on camera from over a million miles away --  100,000 fires blaze across the largest islands of this Archipelago Nation. 

Why? Deforestation to increase Palm Oil Production. Over 50% of the world's palm oil is produced in Indonesia. But why stop there when there's plenty of land to spare?

This happens every year, but 2015 seems to be the worst one yet. Smoke from the fires has spread across the neighboring countries of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, and even as far as The Philippines and Micronesia. The haze has caused schools to close, flights to be cancelled, and thousands to seek medical care for respiratory issues

Yet, Indonesia prefers to evacuate entire areas, rather than deal with the heart of the problem.

Aside from the usual culprits of Sumatra and Kalimantan, Papua -- the second largest island in the world -- is now joining the Club. And this is one of the main reasons I am writing about this. 

Although Papua may be a massive island, it makes up less than 1% of the world’s land area. Yet, it is home to over 5,000 different species of animals, many of which are endemic to the island. Meaning, they do not exist anywhere else in the world.

Many of these forests are protected areas, though that status has arbitrarily been lifted in order to reach the ever rising goals of palm oil production.

In the words of a Native American proverb, "Only when the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, will you realize that you cannot eat money." 

Below are just a few of Papua's strange and spectacular species of animals and plants, whose only home in the world is being destroyed.

Tree Climbing Kangaroos

Ever heard of kangaroos that can climb trees? Now you have. There are 12 species of Tree Kangaroos in the world, 9 of which are endemic to the island of Papua New Guinea. Tree climbing kangaroos are an endangered species, threatened by habitat loss.  

1. The Huon Tree Kangaroo

Baby Huon Tree Kangaroo Papua Endemic Species
Baby Huon Tree Kangaroo. Source.

2. The Tenkile Tree Kangaroo


 3. Lowland Tree Kangaroo

Lowland Tree Kangaroo Papua Endemic Species

Birds of Paradise

 Renowned for their unique and exotic beauty, 38 of the 41 species of Birds of Paradise in the world are found only in Papua. Birds of Paradise are endangered species, threatened by habitat loss. 

4. Ribbon Tailed Astrapia

Ribbon Tailed Astrapia, Papua Endemic Bird of Paradise

  5. Six Wired Bop

Six Wired Bop, Papua Endemic Bird of Paradise

 6. Blue Bird of Paradise

Blue Bird of Paradise, Papua Endemic Species

 7. Lesser Bird of Paradise

Lesser Bird of Paradise, Papua Endemic Species

8. Raggiana Bird of Paradise  

Raggiana Bird of Paradise, Papua Endemic Species


Echidna belong to the order of monotremes, or egg-laying mammals. The order is shared by four species of Echidna, and the better known Platypus.

Echidnas once roamed Australia and Papua New Guinea, but none have been seen alive in Australia in several years, making them now endemic to Papua.

9. Short Beaked Echidna

Short Beaked Echidna, Papua Endemic Species

 10. Long Beaked Echidna

Long Beaked Echidna, Papua Endemic Species

Crowned Pigeons

Not only do they look way too awesome to be pigeons, these pigeons are the largest species of pigeons in the world.  

11. Southern Crowned Pigeon

Southern Crowned Pigeon, World's Largest Pigeon, Papua Endemic Species

12. Western Crowned Pigeon

Western Crowned Pigeon, Papua Endemic Species

 More World Records

13. Bismarck Flying Fox

This species of Megabat is among the largest bats in the world. 
Bismarck Flying Fox, Megabat, World's Largest Bats

14. Queen Alexandra's Bird Wing

With a wingspan of over 25cm, it is the largest Butterfly in the World. 
World's Largest Butterfly, Queen Alexandra's Bird Wing, Papua Endemic Species

15. Red Breasted Pygmy Parrot

Measuring just 8cm in length, it is the smallest Parrot in the World. 
World's Smallest Parrot, Red Breasted Pygmy Parrot, Papua Endemic Species

15. Dwarf Cassowary

This wingless Bird is the world’s smallest Cassowary. Two of the three species of Cassowary are endemic to Papua. 
Dwarf Cassowary, Papua Endemic Bird Species

16. Araucaria Trees

Not an animal, I know. These are the world’s tallest tropical trees. First evolved in the Mesozoic Age, these living fossils were once a favorite food source for the giant Sauropods. 
Tallest Tropical Trees, Endemic to Papua Indonesia

Other Creatures

17. Papuan Forest-Wallaby

This tiny marsupial is endemic to Papua, and threatened by habitat loss. 
Papua Forest Wallaby, Papua Endemic Marsupial

18. Bronze Quoll

Not much is known about this nocturnal predator, except that it is a near threatened species, with a remaining population of just a few thousand.
Bronze Quoll, Papua Endemic Species Indonesia

19. Tate’s Triok

This little possum.
Tate's Triok Striped Possum. Papua Endemic Species

These represent barely a fraction of Papua's abundant and diverse wildlife.

Fires can be extinguished, but extinct species can never be reborn.
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About Flame Rozario

A self-proclaimed Crypto-anthropologist with a personal interest in ancient intelligent civilizations, underwater archaeology, and the truth that lies behind the legend. I write about a combination of fact, fantasy, and my own personal theories. Why? Because I can.


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