Water is one of the basic needs for every living being. Humans, animals, and plants, all rely to water as one of the most essential sustenance of life. River is one of the water sources that provides water to support the sustainability of its surrounding. Thus, this is one of the reasons why many humans and other living creatures have lived and settled along the river side.
There are many rivers in Papua and one of them is long and winding like the river in Amazon. It is the magnificent Mamberamo river in Sarmi region, Papua.
In Dani tribe, Mambe means big and Ramo means water. Thus, Mamberamo means a big river. The source of this river is formed from the confluences of its upper tributaries which are Tariku, Van Daalen, and Taritatu. It flows to the north that continues into the Pacific Ocean. The Mamberamo River extends for 670 km with the depth between 8 to 33 meters and has 1,383,877 km2 of catchment area. The water volume of this river is 5.500 m3/second.
The watershed altitude of this river is around 5,030 meter on Jayawijaya mountains and 2,193 meters on Foja mountains, up to the coast area. The Mamberamo River is not only a river, but it’s also the home and source of life for some of the most isolated tribes. Not to mention the abundant biodiversity that it holds.
In Mamberamo area, there are 59 villages that are divided into 8 districts: Mamberamo Headwater, Mamberamo Central, Mamberamo Downstream, Mamberamo Central East, Rouffer (Sarmi regent), Sawai, Benuki, and Upper Waropen (Waropen regent) with a total inhabitant of around 23,000 people. Most of them are working as village officers, hunters, fishers, merchants, farmers, government employees, and business owners.
Since Mamberamo area is still surrounded by dense forests, the isolated tribes still exist. Their presence though, are hard to find. They live as nomads and stay only temporarily to tap sago which they would bring when they go hunting or fishing.
For the scientists, the Mamberamo area is a heaven full of knowledge due to the many endemic species in this unspoiled nature. There are little wallabies, tiny tree shrews, estuarine crocodiles, frogs, butterflies, birds, and hundreds of plant species.
The natural beauty of the river and its bountiful surrounding can attract tourists and scientists to learn and enjoy its natural wealth. However, it is also crucial to conserve this natural heritage for the next generations to come.