Small mammal distribution in Papua

Freddy Pattiselanno (Animal Science Laboratory Universitas Negeri Papua, Manokwari)

Two different field works have been conducted to study the presence of small mammals in the northern region of Papua (Yongsu and Mamberamo) and in the Bird’s Head Peninsula in particular, Northern Tambrauw Nature Reserve.

Study area

Cyclops Mountain is one of the mountain sites officially protected in the Cyclops Mountains Nature Reserve in close proximity to Jayapura, a capital city of Papua Province. Due to its location near Jayapura, the reserve has been exposed to severe pressure from other land use purposes (e.g., road construction, conversion to agriculture, settlements and logging concessions). Study was conducted on August 2000 at Yongsu and continued during September at the Mamberamo sites.

The Mamberamo River watershed, one of the wetland sites in West Papua, covers 7,711,602 hectares and includes part of the central mountains of New Guinea, as well as forests, coastal forests, and tropical marshlands. This potential marshland area in West Papua is currently classified as production forest (31.6%), conversion forest (29.6%), protected forest (29.6%) and other categories (1.4%). The Department of Research and Technology has decided to develop the area by building a dam for the center of the industrial and agricultural program in West Papua. The value of this system in terms of biological conservation is obvious, and if the proposed dam proceeds to fruition at its point of passage through the Foja/ Van Rees Mountains, it will be an ecological catastrophe for Papua’s biodiversity (Polhemus and Richards, 2002).

In the Northern Tambrauw, one of the protected areas in the Bird’s Head areas around the lowland rainforest areas closer to Saukorem District (0°33’927″S, 133°09’371″E) survey was conducted from 6-16 June 2001. Generally, this part of the Birdshead region study site has a wet, tropical climate and is subject to the seasonal influence of the northwest monsoon from November to March and the southeast tradewinds from June to September. Rainfall is high (probably up to 3,500 mm per year) (WWF,2003).

In relation to the catch results in both study sites, and the diversity of small mammals we assumed that:

•Habitat modification had an effect because the study sites had been converted to gardens and were utilized by local people for hunting and other extraction activities from the forest

•The animals’ activities were limited because of the rainy season during our survey in Yongsu, and the smell of the baits did not carry well to the whole part of the study area.

•The territory and home ranges of small mammals were diverse among the species

•The low catch rate possibility, both by individual and by species, compared to the northern region of Papua suggested that the study site at the Northern Tambrauw has possibly been disturbed


Papers have been published in Tigerpaper Vol. XXXIX No. 1 January-March 2012 and Tigerpaper Vol XXXIV No. 4 October-December 2007 (

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