New species discovered every two days in the Mekong
Hanoi, Vietnam - A new monkey, a self-cloning skink, five carnivorous plants, and a unique leaf warbler are among the 208 species newly described by science in the Greater Mekong region in 2010 and highlighted in a new WWF report, Wild Mekong.
While the report affirms the Mekong as a region of extraordinary biodiversity, WWF is calling on the six leaders from the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) meeting next week in Myanmar to put the benefits of biodiversity, and the costs of losing it, at the centre of decision-making and regional cooperation.
The Myanmar summit will endorse a new strategy guiding the next decade of economic cooperation among the GMS countries. WWF warns the Greater Mekong’s valuable natural assets and species will continue to disappear without accelerated efforts to green the region’s economies.
“Mekong governments have to stop thinking about biodiversity protection as a cost and recognise it as an investment to ensure long-term stability,” said Stuart Chapman, Conservation Director of WWF Greater Mekong. “It is ultimately this natural capital upon which the Greater Mekong’s prosperity is built.”
Among the ten species highlighted in the WWF report is the snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri). Found in Myanmar’s remote and mountainous Kachin state, locals say the monkey can be spotted with its head between its knees in wet weather to avoid rain running into its upturned nose.
A staggering array of 28 reptiles was also newly discovered in 2010, including an all-female lizard (Leiolepis ngovantrii) in Vietnam that reproduces via cloning without the need for male lizards. Five species of carnivorous pitcher plants were also discovered across Thailand and Cambodia, with some species capable of luring in and consuming small rats, mice, lizards and even birds.
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