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The Rainforest Habitat, Lae.

Discussion in 'Papua New Guinea' started by kiglezi, 19 Sep 2009.

  1. kiglezi

    kiglezi Active Member

    19 Aug 2008
    This botanical garden is located outside of a city called Lae (Madang Province), north-east Papua New Guinea.

    I visited this place for the first time back in 1994, when myself and a team of experts was brought in from Australia/Hong Kong to work with the planning and construction of a number of large bird encloasers (a very unique project by the time).

    The majority of these would later hold several succesful breeding colonies of Bird of Paradise species, and The Rainforest habitat is probably best known for their impressive collection of Bird of Paradise (the worlds largest by the time). They also have a impressive record of breeding Dendrolagus kangaroos.

    Between the year 1996-2001 I lived only an hour away from this place and I did usually visit 4-5 a year, as by then they still housed a large and very unique collection of mammals, birds and reptiles. But since things have gone downhill with this collection (see the Loloata Island thread), not in regards of animal husbandary but the majority of all animals is long gone now, up until recently the last visit I made to this collection was back in 2005. Though in early August 2009 I was back in PNG and decided to take a trip down to Lae (from Madang) to say hello to a couple of old friends, and while in Lae I decided to re-visit The Rainforest habitat.

    Back in the "old days" this was a very popular tourist destination for people travelling through Lae, especially back in the mid 1990,s it sometimes could get a bit crowded in the weekends. This is not the case anymore however, a few groups of school children was there the same time as me but other than that there was no other people walking around in this (quite large) place, accomondation is possible (a few small cottages) within the grounds of The Rainforest habitat but I was told that very few people had stayed their in the last couple of years and that they only had opened if people had called far in advance, mostly weedings and stuff like that taking place in the botanical garden now.

    And in regards of the animals, they kept something like 15-20 species of bird of paradise in 1998, they only ones remaning now (at least as far as I could see) is a couple of quite old Raggina Bird of Paradise. Other birds present is Northern Cassowary, Eclectus Parrot, Victoria Crowned Pigeon and Blue-eyed Cockatoo, few if even any of the birds has breed in the last couple of years.

    And things apparently has gone further downhill with their Dendrolagus collection, they once mantained large breeding groups of four (!) species of Tree-kangaroo (Doria, Grizzled, Goodfellow and Huon) but all that seems to remains now is a few old Goodfellows (I think most, if not all, is past reproduction age) and a small group of (still) reproducing Huon Tree Kangaroos.

    Apart from the animals mentioned above there is not much to see here, apart from the bonatical garden which is very nice though. They do got a few New Guinea Crocs and some old bird of prey (Brahminy Kite etc.), they majority of all animals is however being looked after very well but staff that is working at the nearby university (also the owners of the B. garden).

    Not a place I would travel a long way to visit (for those that visit PNG), especially as there is several Botanical Gardens in the PM-area which has much more impressive collections of animals these days.

    But The Rainforest Habitat could be worth a short visit if you happen to be in the general area and have time to kill (though phone them well in advance!), especially as its not that far away from downtown Lae.