The last Discoveries of new species World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report added 224 new species of plants and vertebrate animals in the Greater Mekong region. The WWF produces a report every year, but suspended it in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic.
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A WWF report confirms the richness of biodiversity
A horned newt, a drought-resistant bamboo and a monkey named after a volcano were among the 224 new species discovered, despite the “intense threat” of habitat loss.
Discoveries listed in the report include a new rock gecko found in Thailand, a species of mulberry tree in Vietnam, and a fathead frog in Vietnam and Cambodia that is already under threat from deforestation.
The new species highlights the rich biodiversity of the Mekong region, which encompasses Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and demonstrates nature’s resilience to survive in fragmented and degraded natural habitats, said the WWF.
“These species are extraordinary, beautiful products of millions of years of evolutionbut are under intense threat, with many species having become extinct even before they were described,” said K. Yoganand, WWF-Greater Mekong Regional Head of Wildlife and Wildlife Crime.
The region is home to some of the world’s most endangered species, threatened by habitat destruction, human-induced diseases and the illegal wildlife trade.
A United Nations report last year said wildlife trafficking in Southeast Asia was crawling back after a temporary hiatus in coronavirus restrictions, which saw countries close borders and step up surveillance.