Selected postings from east-timor (reg.easttimor)

Subject: AFP: ETimor sets up first national park

AFP ­ 31 Jul 2007

ETimor sets up first national park

Dili - East Timor has formally set aside 123,600 hectares (305,400 acres) of land and sea to create the nation's first national park, the acting prime minister's office said Tuesday.

The Nino Konis Santana National Park incorporates the entire eastern tip of East Timor, and "aims to conserve a rich and extensive natural, cultural and historical heritage," the office said in a statement.

The protected area comprises 68,000 hectares of land and 55,600 hectares of sea. It covers one of the largest remaining intact tropical lowland and monsoon rainforests in the region and extensive coral reefs, it said.

The park is to be jointly managed by the government and local communities, with assistance from Birdlife International and the Australian state of New South Wales' Department of Environment and Climate Change, the office said.

Nino Konis Santana was a commander of Falantil, the armed wing of the movement that fought for independence from Indonesia, and was born in the village of Tutuala within the park.

The park is recognised by the World Conservation Union.

Continuously occupied for more than 40,000 years, the area is rich in archaeological heritage and has many sites from the colonial Portuguese era and World War II Japanese occupation periods, the office added.

East Timor became independent in 2002 and despite rich deposits of oil and gas it remains one of the world's poorest nations.

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