The World Wildlife Fund has just announced the discovery of more than 200 new species in an effort to protect the biodiversity in Asia. A total of 208 species, including a psychedelic gecko, a monkey with an Elvis haircut, and a self-cloning lizard were found in the Greater Mekong region in eastern Asia during 2010.
The new report details 208 species, including 145 plants, 28 reptiles, 25 fish, 7 amphibians, 2 mammals, and 1 bird, were discovered in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The WWF says that the discovery of so many new species highlights the diversity of the Mekong region and illustrates why the region has to be protected.
Rebecca Ng of WWF’s Greater Mekong Program, said:
“This report is an affirmation of what we know—that the Greater Mekong offers unparalleled diversity in nature—and what must be done. The rich natural treasures of the region could be lost if regional governments don’t recognize that protecting biodiversity is an investment to ensure long-term sustainability, especially in the face of global environmental change.”
The WWF warns that these species will likely follow in the footsteps of the now extinct Javan rhino if wildlife policies are not changed in the region.
Sarah Bladen, communications director for WWF Greater Mekong, told the Associated Press:
“This is a region of extraordinary richness in terms of biodiversity but also one that is extremely fragile. It’s losing biodiversity at a tragic rate.”
Leaders from the Greater Mekong Sub region are meeting in Myanmar next week. The WWF is hoping that the leaders will take note of their more recent report and work to protect the biodiversity in the area.
Here are some of the animals recently discovered in the Greater Mekong region.
A new psychedlic gecko was found off the coast of Southern Vietman. It was discovered living in the boulders of Hon Khoai island, Ca Mau province.
The WWF reports that although “this species, sporting an Elvis-like hairstyle, is new to science, the local people of Myanmar know it well.” Locals say that this snub-nosed monkey will put its head between its legs during a storm to avoid water running into its upturned nose.
A Carnivorous Pitcher Plant
This is one of five new species of pitcher plants that were discovered in 2010. The plant lures in and consumes rats, mice, lizards, and birds.
This self-cloning lizard species (Leiolepis ngovantrii) is an all-female species.
Do you think the Greater Mekong Region will be swayed by the new WWF report?