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Remarkable Species Discovered in Southeast Asia

Newly identified Greater Mekong species under threat from man-made pressures

A new bat named after its devilish appearance, a subterranean blind fish, a ruby-eyed pit viper, and a frog that sings like a bird are among the 126 species from the Greater Mekong newly identified by scientists and highlighted in the WWF report, Extra Terrestrial. The report compiles the work of scientists from numerous institutions across the world. Since 1997, an incredible 1,710 new species were newly described to science in the Greater Mekong region, which includes Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos.

Amid the excitement of these discoveries is the grim reality that many species could disappear before they are ever recorded because of man-made pressures in the area. Habitat loss and illegal hunting for meat, decoration or purported medicinal qualities are just some of the threats to the region’s astonishing biodiversity. The terrifying drop in the number of wild tigers and the 2010 extinction of the Javan rhino in Vietnam are urgent reminders that species are being lost at an alarming rate due to human pressures.

If governments fail to invest in and value conservation this region’s treasure trove of biodiversity—and the countless benefits it offers to people—could be lost forever.

Newly Discovered Species of the Mekong