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Where Worlds Collide

Hundreds of new species discovered in the fragile Eastern Himalayas

A new WWF report reveals more than 350 new species – such as a “flying frog” and a 100 million-year old gecko – that have been discovered in the Eastern Himalayas, a biological treasure trove now threatened by climate change. Read the press release.

The Eastern Himalayas – Where Worlds Collide details a decade of research by scientists from various organizations between 1998 and 2008. The Eastern Himalayas reaches across Bhutan and northeast India to the far north of Myanmar as well as Nepal and southern parts of the Tibet Autonomous Region (China).

The Eastern Himalayas - New Species Discoveries

Photo Slideshow

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© Milivoje Krvavac / WWF Nepal
Smith's litter frog (Leptobrachium smithi) was identified in 1999. It is one of five new frog discoveries in the Indian state of Assam. Measuring only a few centimeters, this small frog has a giant pair of vivid golden eyes. Smith's litter frog was reportedly discovered in the Mayeng Hill Reserve Forest and Garbhanga Reserve Forest, Kamru District, Assam.

The species discovered include 244 plants, 16 amphibians, 16 reptiles, 14 fish, 2 birds, 2 mammals and at least 60 new invertebrates. This enormous biological diversity underscores the fragile nature of an environment at great risk from the impacts of climate change.

Species spotlight

Bagun Liocichla (Liocichla bugunorum) is a striking, colorful Asian babbler discovered in India. The species was highly significant because the most recent new bird species reported from India was described more than half a century earlier in 1948. The species predominantly inhabits open-canopied hill forests with dense shrubs and small trees, and so far is known to be restricted a 500-acre area at altitudes between 6,500 and 7,700 feet.

Conservation challenges

The region's temperate forests, savannas and grasslands are under pressure from unsustainable harvesting of resources for firewood, food and timber. Intensive grazing and agricultural expansion are also growing threats along with the poaching of endangered plants and animals. Some underlying causes of these forces are social, and include a rapidly growing human population, poverty and migration. WWF is leveraging partnerships at all levels to achieve conservation results.

Protecting the Himalayas

WWF is working at all levels in the Eastern Himalayas to restore and protect ecological processes, reduce the human footprint, and support local economies. By working closely with the governments and people of Bhutan, Nepal and India, we continue to build on our landscape-wide conservation experiences. We are expanding our involvement with local communities by developing innovative approaches that balance environmental protection with economic development.

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