Tonda Wildlife Management Area on the southern extremity of Papua New Guinea’s border with Indonesia is PNG’s largest and oldest conservation area and its only Ramsar site. For over 20 years it has been managed by a committee of indigenous leaders drawn from 20 village communities. While this group has provided strong local level protection of land, lack of support to the committee has meant that the full potential of community management has not been realised. Furthermore threats on a regional and international scale cannot be easily
dealt with by current community institutions.
The Tonda Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is the only Ramsar site in the south Pacific region outside Australia. It was declared a Ramsar site on 23rd March, 1993 because it is believed to support internationally significant populations of both resident and migratory shorebirds and waterbirds and is probably an important staging point for shorebirds during migration between eastern Australia and the breeding grounds in eastern Russia.