Papua New Guinea Cannibals in the Jungle, REALLY?

At present day, there is a preconceived idea that there are cannibals in the jungles of PNG. The naivety around the idea stems from the fact that there is a lack of understanding of the country, its geopolitical setting and its people. Here is what the real story is.

papua new guinea cannibals in the jungle

Papua New Guinea Cannibals in the jungle

So, you found this article searching for cannibals of Papua New Guinea in the jungle, right?

The answer there is no such thing as cannibals or the practice of cannibalism in Papua New Guinea. Trust me, no human is ever seen eaten alive when they venture on Papua New Guinea trips.

In fact, many of the articles are fake news. The articles about cannibals in PNG proliferated by major online websites do not have the right facts and are completely misleading.

The news about cannibalism in PNG has caught the attention of many naïve readers. The online stories had been sensationalised to attract readers. But, these stories had painted a wrong picture of the country.

Online news about PNG cannibals in the jungle

Many international visitors to PNG can attest to the fact that the articles on cannibals in PNG do not present the correct information.

Often, the stories were retold based on social media posts or by writers who lack an understanding of Papua New Guinea. In fact, many of these stories are not only fake news but also complemented by outdated images.

Therefore, any online news outlet that runs stories on cannibals in PNG in the 21st century must not, just, base their stories on social media posts or fake stories.

Fake Stories on Cannibalism in PNG

It is important that the online media, both international and local media, must establish their facts and sources of stories properly before publishing.

The article titled Korowai People of Papua New Guinea (2017,2009) is a clear example of misinformation. The article said less about the indigenous skill and ability of the people to build houses on stilts and more about cannibalism. In fact, the articles showed recent photo evidence of stilt house and none of the Korowai eating human flesh!

Furthermore, the people of Korowai are not Papua New Guineans. They are from the West Papua in Indonesia. And, they are not cannibals either.

Another fake article was titled the Cannibals on Kokoda (2016). It receives wide online coverage because the couple in the news nearly died whilst walking Kokoda unprepared, and blamed it on the locals. This was a trip that could have ended up in disaster because the couple was stupid.

Kokoda incident - desperate couples

The Papua New Guineans, Australians and other international trackers who walked Kokoda Trail know that the walks are undertaken in organized trips. That means that you must

  • have a local contact
  • train and prepare for the arduous walk,
  • have money, permit, guides and rations,
  • walk during the dry season and
  • respect the local people.

Kokoda Track is not for the faint-hearted. No one walks Kokoda Track unprepared and without guides. The couple who attempted the Kokoda Track in 2016 underestimated the walk.

In addition, the couple disobeyed the advice of the local authorities on arrival. They had no money and walked the track with a bare minimum of tracking essentials.

The couple could have died along the way when they attempted the trip on their own. They were lucky they survived and should have been thankful for the Kokoda team who helped them.

Global-View of the Writer

The author of this post is a Papua New Guinea. Grew up in PNG, lived and worked in the United Kingdom. He also visited several other countries in the World: France, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Vietnam, Hong Kong. He is a full-time PNG public servant.

The world media often present PNG in a different way. Other people see PNG in terms of what is presented by the media and on the Internet.

In retrospect, visitors to and residents of Papua New Guinea KNOW that PNG is a beautiful country with friendly people.

The writer also believes that Papua New Guinea is one of the beautiful places in the World. It has some of the friendliest people on Earth.

Like any developing country, PNG has its social, political and economic challenges. But it does not mean that PNG is not a good place to live and work or visit.

As the saying goes, you must see it to believe it. The locals say YOU YET KAM NA LUKIM. (Come and experience PNG)

Many things have changed in the last 10 years. The country’s capital, Port Moresby, is now a metro-modern city. There are parks, pools, resorts and entertainment venues for both kids and adults. Modern hotels and private resorts are within an hour’s drive from the city.

Expect the Unexpected Papua New Guinea Trips

Living and working or visiting PNG can be a challenge. But with those challenges come the great rewards. When you live or visit PNG, it is like travelling to a land of diverse cultures and people.

The common saying here is ‘EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED’. PNG is the land of surprises.

Perhaps it is important to know that Papua New Guinea is a changing country. The new Prime Minister of PNG new slogan is TAKE BACK PNG. The PM is appealing to the people of PNG to respect and appreciate others.

The call is to make PNG a better place for all to live together. Therefore, visitors are welcome to venture on Papua New Guinea trips and experience the diverse cultures and people of Papua New Guinea.

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