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Environment

Monitoring uncovers new species

ExxonMobil PNG’s (EMPNG) commitment to preserving the biodiversity of PNG has helped uncover new plant and animal species not previously identified in the country.

In total 16 new plants, five non-volant mammals including two marsupials, 11 lizards, 60 frogs and one bat species were discovered during our biodiversity baseline studies, which took place over several years.

One of the new plant species discovered and named was the Distrianthes exxonmobilenis. 

Named after ExxonMobil, the species is a shrub like plant found rooted to mossy tree trunks around the forests of Juha and the Strickland basin region in PNG’s Western Province.  

In addition, a new species of freshwater turtle that is genetically related to the northern snapping turtle (Elseya dentate) was discovered.

This new species, named Elseya rhodini is part of the Chelidae family of side-neck turtles that are restricted to the continents of South America and Australia, including the islands of New Guinea, Timor and Roti.

The turtle was uncovered by researchers from the University of Canberra who were undertaking monitoring for the endangered Piku Pig Nosed Turtle – an important conservation project funded by EMPNG.

With an estimated 5-10 percent of the world’s plant and animal species contained within PNG, we recognise the importance of nurturing and protecting this unique environment.

Through our biodiversity strategy and offset plan, we are minimising our footprint to protect PNG’s environment for the long-term.