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By Haiveta Kivia

LAE, Papua New Guinea (September 3, 1999 – The National)---The Rainforest Habitat situated on the grounds of University of Technology here is expanding its displays and one that will no doubt become the center of attraction is the Bird of Paradise exhibit.

The expansion work, funded by the Forest Industries Association (FIA) , will house the Blue Bird of Paradise, which is the only one of its species in captivity in the entire world.

The curators of the habitat, Peter and Diane Clark, built the habitat from a grassland, which was used as a dumping area and it is now a thriving beauty to visit.

The Bird of Paradise (BOP) display, when fully built, will no doubt become the center of attraction, though there are many interesting animals and birds to see.

The BOP display will be built behind the main exhibit, which houses 50 species of birds. Included are birds of paradise, parrots, peacocks and other birds. In all, the habitat has about 80 species of birds.

The other two special Bird of Paradise species will be the Sickle Bill and the Emperor of German Bird of Paradise.

The Emperor of German species is similar to the most popular Reggiana species, which is used on our national crest and emblem. However, the Emperor's distinct feature is that it has whitish-yellow plumes compared to the Reggiana’s red plumes.

The completed habitat will house all 10 species of the BOPs, including those already mentioned along with the Trumpet BOP, Superb BOP, Magnificent BOP and Lawes Parotia BOP to name some others.

Mr. Clark and his wife Diane, co-curators, gave the FIA executive officer Bob Tate, Rimbunan Hijau Group General Manager James Lau and a group of media personnel a tour of the habitat.

The greatest interest however, was in the Bird of Paradise (BOP) display.

FIA and its members have donated K 18,000 (US$ 6,111) for construction of the cages for the BOP display.

The money was officially handed over to the Habitat last Wednesday during the visit.

Mr. Tate said that people must not get the impression that its members were only interested in logging.

"We are also interested in projects like the Habitat and others which concern the improvement of the environment," he said.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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