Interesting Facts About Papua New Guinea

Scenes from Papua New Guinea.
Scenes from Papua New Guinea.

A sovereign nation in the island of New Guinea in Oceania, Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s least known and least developed regions. Large parts of the country are covered by dense forests that house tribes that are still untouched by the modern-day way of life. The country hosts many secrets and the people living here often follow strange customs and traditions. Here is a list of some really interesting facts related to this nation:

9. Papua New Guinea Hosts 5% Of The Global Biodiversity

Although the country occupies less than 1% of the land area of the world, it hosts more than 5% of the global biodiversity. The flora and fauna here originate from two sources - Gondwana to the south and Asia to the west. High levels of endemism have also been recorded here. More than 20,000 species of higher plants grow here. Papua New Guinea is well-known for having a rich collection of orchid species which numbers over 3,000. 250 species of mammals, 600 fish species, 760 species of birds, etc., are found here.

8. The Country Is Highly Unsafe For Women

Papua New Guinea is possibly the worst place in the world in terms of ranking of violence against women. According to a 2013 study conducted by The Lancet, 27% of men living on an island in the nation reported having raped a woman who was not a partner. UNICEF reports that nearly half of the victims of rape in the country are below 15 years of age.

7. Many Women In Papua New Guinea Are Labelled As Witches And Killed

Several cultures in Papua New Guinea are still steeped deep in superstitions. The practice of “black magic" is still prevalent in many parts of the nation. Many women in the country are labeled as witches and killed. About 50 to 150 women are killed as alleged witches every year in this country.

6. Papua New Guinea Is Home To The Beautiful Birds-of-paradise

Several species of the birds-of-paradise inhabit the country. These birds are known across the world for their unique features, elegant plumes, beautiful colors, and interesting behaviors. Many of these birds perform elaborate mating rituals including dances.

5. The Country Is Highly Prone To Natural Disasters

Papua New Guinea sits the point of collision of several major tectonic plates. It is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire. It is because of this that Papua New Guinea experiences frequent earthquakes, tsunamis, and even volcanic eruptions.

4. Papua New Guinea Is The Best Place To See Tree Kangaroos

Tree kangaroos are a genus of marsupials that are found in the New Guinea island’s tropical rainforests. While most species of this genera are endemic to the island, a few are found in some other nearby islands and even Queensland, Australia. Due to habitat loss and hunting, most species of tree kangaroos are threatened with extinction. Papua New Guinea hosts several species of tree kangaroos and offers visitors an exciting opportunity of watching these unique animals in their native habitat.

3. Seashells Were Once The Currency Of Papua New Guinea

In the past seashells served as the currency of the country. This form of currency was abolished in 1933 and the kina was introduced. However, the use of seashells as a method of trading goods is still prevalent in some local cultures in the nation.

2. One Of The World’s Few Known Poisonous Birds Resides In The Nation

The hooded pitohui is a bird native to the New Guinea island. It is medium-sized with black and chestnut plumage. The pitohui produces batrachotoxin compounds in its feathers, skin, and other tissues. The poison helps protect the birds from predators and parasites. Local hunters always try to avoid killing these birds.

1. Until Recently, Cannibalism Was Prevalent In Papua New Guinea

The remote area of Papua New Guinea hosts many dark secrets. Some of the world’s most recent cases of cannibalism have been reported here. As recently as 2012, reports of cannibal attacks have surfaced here including claims of brains and other internal organs being consumed by the cannibals. In 2016, a British tourist and his girlfriend narrowly escaped being caught by the members of a local tribe while they were hiking in Papua New Guinea. They feared that their attackers could be cannibals.


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