WHO WE ARE
Valentina Shita Prativi
Owner/Operator, chief field guide
Shita is originally from Java and grew up in Jakarta. She graduated from the Law Faculty of the Catholic University of Parahyangan Bandung, West Java and began her professional career as a volunteer with an organization that afforded support and education for homeless children. She pursued this and other social service and community aid and development work in Java, Maluku, and
Sulawesi before meeting Papua Bird Club founder Kris Tindige in 2005. Shita joined Papua Bird Club initially in the role of legal advisor, and later began to make use of her NGO experience to develop alternative education programmes for indigenous Papuan communities.
Under the tutelage of Kris, Shita enhanced her experience of leading wildlife tours in Papua, Sulawesi, Maluku, Bali, and Komodo. When Kris sadly passed away in 2007, Shita chose to continue his work with Papua Bird Club and began leading tours full time. She has since become widely regarded as the premier bird tour leader in Papua and eastern Indonesia.
Although most of her time is spent leading tours, she is still able to support the local communities both through employment and income opportunities stemming directly from the tours themselves (as local guides, porters, landowners, cooks, etc.) and through volunteer work offering guidance and training to the local people. She is currently in the process of founding a new non-profit sister organization to Magnificus Expeditions, PAPUA KONSERVASI DAN KOMUNITAS, which will provide English language, field guide, hosting skills and other trainings with the help of collaborators SDSP.
Because of her commitment to and respect for the indigenous Papuan people, Shita is welcomed by local villages throughout Papua. Some have even recognized her contribution to their lives by giving her name to their new-born daughters.
Hooded munia (Lonchura spetabilis), Sentani
Biak Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera riedelii), Biak
Photos courtesy Guy Broome
Lowland Peltops (Peltops blainvillii), Waigeo
Associate field guide/Coordinator
Benny was born and raised in Saporkren, a village on the southern coast of Waigeo Island in the Raja Ampat kabupaten of West Papua province. As a local landowner, he has an in-depth and personal knowledge of the land and its animal and plant life and has nurtured his land to provide ideal habitat for a diverse lowland avifauna. Impressed by his
keen bird identification skills and his passion and dedication to protecting his natural heritage, Shita invited him to join her as an apprentice tour leader. Now into his third year with Magnificus Expeditions, he is an accomplished tour leader and forest guide in his own right.
Photo Shita Prativi
Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Cicinnuris respublica), Waigeo, Raja Ampat
Photo Jordan Mencher