In the News: Kristofer Helgen
Kristofer Helgen made the news in Scholastic News Edition 3 and Junior Scholastic on March 27, 2006
By Tiffany Chaparro
Helgen is a PhD student at Australia's University of Adelaide in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He joined a team of 14 researchers from the U.S., Australia, and Indonesia to explore this remote region of the earth. There they discovered more than 20 new species of frogs, four of butterflies, and at least five palm trees! The researchers also saw rare animals like the golden-mantled tree kangaroo.
"The first bird I saw when I stepped out of the helicopter was a honeyeater with an orange face, which turned out to be a new species," Helgen said. "This is the first new bird discovered on the island of New Guinea since the Second World War."
Since poor countries are often forced to cut down trees in their forests to sell the wood, Helgen hopes that the news generated by the expedition will help protect the wildlife in the region.
"We all came to the conclusion that nothing ultimately is saved by leaving it be," he said. "We decided it was better to place it on a kind of pedestal and show everyone what it's like and hope that embeds it in people's minds that this is a place that needs to be saved."