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More Than 200 New Species Discovered in Mekong

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.

A total of 145 plants, 28 reptiles, 25 fish, 7 amphibians, 2 mammals, and 1 bird were all discovered within the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia that spans Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan.

At the same time, the Mekong’s wild places and wildlife are under extreme pressure from rapid, unsustainable development and climate change.

Protecting their future
WWF warns the Greater Mekong’s valuable natural assets and species will continue to disappear without accelerated efforts to green the region’s economies. The extinction of the Javan rhino in Vietnam, recently confirmed by WWF, is a tragic indicator of the decline of biodiversity in the region.

“This report is an affirmation of what we know—that the Greater Mekong offers unparalleled diversity in nature—and what must be done,” said Rebecca Ng of WWF’s Greater Mekong Program. “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 six leaders from the Greater Mekong Sub-region are meeting in Myanmar from December 19-20. WWF is calling upon them to put the benefits of biodiversity, and the costs of losing it, at the center of decision-making and regional cooperation.

Species spotlight: 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.

Learn More
Wild Mekong Species Report (PDF)
WWF’s Work in the Mekong