Lost Land of the Volcano – But is it Really Lost?

Mt Bosavi - A Natural Fortress

You may remember that last month there was a lot of hype made over the ‘discovery’ of a number of unidentified animal species within Mt Bosavi, an extinct volcano on the Great Papuan Plateau, located in Southern Highlands Province, and part of the Kikori River basin.

Although there were a number of photos released that captured the imagination of people all around the world, the first excerpts of the BBC’s Natural History Unit expedition have now been posted on YouTube. Of course, we’ll have to wait and watch all the full episodes to find out how exactly the species were ‘discovered’, but from first glance, it seems that all the glory has been gobbled up by the BBC’s posh-accented crew and the left-over crumbs (if any) offered to the local villagers and landowners who no doubt have played a critical role in the success of the expedition.

I’m not going to say much more about the issue right now but I will say that it does bother me. I’ve included a number of video excerpts of what will no doubt become a cash-cow of viewer ratings and advertising dollars for the BBC, but I do want to point out two things.

Firstly, when you watch the clip of the Silky Cuscus (the ‘new’ name given by the BBC crew), you will notice that it’s mentioned that “one of the trackers has returned to camp with a wild animal”. There is an obvious familiarity with this ‘new’ species of cuscus and the local people – why not use the name the people of the land have known it by for generations, instead of renaming an animal for what seems to be a push for scientific flattery.

Secondly, “Lost Land of the Volcano” – is it really lost? What rubbish! Ol papa graun i nogat save long graun bilong ol yet? Ol papa graun bin save long Mt Bosavi bipo long ol mama bilong olgeta BBC kru i bin karim ol.


To read the final report of the Mt Bosavi expedition, click here.

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~ by Tavurvur on October 21, 2009.

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