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World Briefing / Papgua New Guinea

Nature preserve is nation's first

March 03, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Officials have created a nearly 190,000-acre preserve to protect tree kangaroos and other endangered species, after years of criticism for ignoring environmental issues, a conservation group says.

The plan for a conservation area stemmed from an unusual agreement between the government and 35 indigenous communities to protect remote tropical forest, coastal reefs and mountains on the island of New Guinea.

Leaders representing the 10,000 villagers have agreed to prohibit hunting and development such as logging and mining.

Seattle-based Woodland Park Zoo and the Virginia-based Conservation International will provide as much as $2 million for health and education programs.

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