Images of breathtaking jungle and wildlife spring to mind at the first mention of Papua.
But other than its famous bird of paradise, locally known as cendrawasih, how much do we really know about the island?
Here are some quick facts: West Papua, the easternmost part of Indonesia, is home to approximately 312 tribes who converse in over 253 languages. The island too plays host the world’s largest lizard (Varanus salvadorii) and largest butterfly (Ornithoptera alexandrae), along with an estimated 16,000 different species of plants. Salt and freshwater crocodiles dwell in its extensive waterways and wetlands. It has also been reported that a large part of the equatorial glacier fields in the highlands remain largely unexplored.
But down in the valley, giant corporations have been mining and milling tons of natural resources. Leading the pack is Freeport-McMoRan, on...