Waigeo, Raja Ampat, Papua
Travelling across untouched ancient forest and rivers in search of the elusive Red Bird-of-Paradise.
Mission: Working with Flora and Fauna International (FFI) to support four local communities to develop their own ecotourism ventures to improve rural livelihoods and forest conservation in Waigeo.
idGuides undertook a pre-scoping expedition with the mission of finding and recognising new and existing assets and opportunities for developing ecotourism. We were looking at potential future guides, what the risks and challenges involved are and how the community, idGuides and FFI can work together to provide a meaningful and competitive ecotourism product.
What we found: The area and community has some astonishing natural assets.
Here are a few highlights:
- Multiple gentle and easy river crossings (during the dry season).
- Over 12 Red Birds-of-Paradise in one tree, only 20 minutes away from camp.
- Witnessing and learning indigenous wilderness survival techniques.
- Passing through sacred areas in the forest and learning about its history.
We saw a lot of potential not only in the natural resources but also what areas needed support in order for the venture to grow and provide sustainable livelihoods that would benefit the community and the environment.
Summary and for the future: Travelling to Waigeo, meeting the future guides and experiencing their ideas for an ecotourism venture firsthand was a great and educational experience. We recognised unique and valuable assets, learned a lot about the community and environment as well as what areas would benefit from ours and FFI’s support to help it run smoothly, safely and sustainably in the long-term.
Thanks to the FFI team and Warimuk community! We look forward to coming back to Waigeo and continue to our support.