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Media Releases, 16 February 2016

ExxonMobil PNG's conservation project uncovers new species

ExxonMobil PNG Limited's (EMPNG) commitment to conservation funding has resulted in the discovery of a new turtle species in New Guinea. 

The discovery was the result of research funding provided by EMPNG, operator of the PNG LNG Project, to the University of Canberra to further support conservation in the area following EMPNG's investment in research and engagement projects to protect Piku - the pig-nosed turtle.

To date, EMPNG has invested more than 2.6 million Kina in protecting the endangered species. The newly discovered turtle species forms part of the Chelidae family of side-neck turtles that are restricted to the continents of South America and Australia, including the island of New Guinea, Timor and Roti.

As a fresh water turtle, the new species has been recognised to be genetically related, but not identical to the Elseya Dentata, otherwise known as the Northern Snapping Turtle.

Although closely related, there are no localities where two or more of these species are known to exist in the same location.

This exciting discovery comes as part of many new species of animal and plants being discovered by EMPNG and its affiliates.

"The commitment to maintaining the biodiversity of Papua New Guinea is extremely important to EMPNG.

"The discovery of this new turtle species is hopefully one of many resulting from our partnership with the University of Canberra and our conservation commitment to this region," said Valentina Kaman, Community Investment Advisor.

As the home of EMPNG's operations, the company has a strong focus on conserving PNG's unique environment and protecting its biodiversity.