For many years, biologists and conservationists across the globe have recognized Papua New Guinea as one of the world’s greatest hotspots for biodiversity. Some 300 kilometers north of New Guinea’s mainland is the island of Manus. Its Great Central Forest covers approximately 70,000 hectares of the largest, remnant patch of intact forest in the Admiralty Islands.
The forest boasts many species found nowhere else, including the Admiralty cuscus, the Superb Pita, and the Manus melomys. Scientists still routinely uncover new forest creatures. Recent discoveries include four species of frog (yet to be described), a giant gecko (Gehyra rohan) and a very large rat (Rattus detentus).
Maintaining the integrity of the Great Central Forest also benefits local people, who rely on it for as housing materials, medicine, drinkable water, and food. One of the most important native species for these communities is the Admiralty cuscus (Spilocuscus kraemeri), a furry, nocturnal cat-sized marsupial that serves as a major source of dietary protein.