Using Local Ecological Knowledge to Locate the Western Long-Beaked Echidna Zaglossus Bruijnii On the Vogelkop Peninsula, West Papua, Indonesia

MABBI – Research conducted by Freddy Pattiselanno, Iriansul, Paul A. Barnes, Agustina Yohana Setyarini Arobaya from Papua University entitled Using local ecological knowledge to locate the western long-beaked echidna Zaglossus bruijnii on the Vogelkop Peninsula, West Papua, Indonesia,
The Critically Endangered western long-beaked echidna Zaglossus bruijnii is believed to be distributed throughout the Vogelkop Peninsula in the Indonesian Province of West Papua, but there had formerly been no confirmed sightings of the species since the 1980s. We aimed to establish whether the species survives in this area. Fieldwork was carried out during January–April 2018 in Tambrauw Regency in the north and Teluk Bintuni Regency in the south. Fieldwork involved informal interviews with people, identified through chain referral sampling, who were knowledgeable about local animals and plants. Interviewees were asked about their knowledge of the western long-beaked echidna and if they had encountered them locally. Thirteen interviewees were familiar with the species and we were able to confirm informant records of one individual in Tambrauw Regency and three in Teluk Bintuni Regency. Measurements of the three individual echidnas in Teluk Bintuni Regency corroborated previous descriptions of the species. Interviewees described how echidnas are often seen in the forests around villages, especially during the wet season during January–April, when their foraging signs are easy to distinguish from those of other animals. These four records of the western long-beaked echidna are the first confirmed sightings since the 1980s. They suggest the species persists on the Vogelkop Peninsula, and anecdotal information from the interviewees suggests the species remains common. Nevertheless, detailed systematic surveys are required before any assertion about the status of this species can be made with confidence. (Tri/MABBI)

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