380 new species have been found in the biologically rich Mekong region. Since work began in 1997, a total of 3 389 different species have been found in the area – but many of the species are threatened by deforestation and industrialization.
In WWF’s new report New Species Discoveries -22, hundreds of scientists from universities, conservation organizations and research institutes have discovered 380 new species in the last two years. The species were found in the so-called Mekong region, which includes countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
The findings include 290 plants, 19 fish, 24 amphibians, 46 reptiles and one mammal. Among these is a mini orchid that has a brilliant bright yellow and pink color that makes it look like the characters in The Muppets. A very poisonous snake has been named after the snake goddess Bai Su Zhen, from a Chinese myth called the Legend of the White Snake. Another spectacular find is the Cambodian blue agama lizard, which is said to be very aggressive and changes its color as a defense mechanism.
Since 1997, thousands of species have been found in the area and these new findings bring the total to 3 389 different species. However, these areas are being rapidly deforested and industrialization is putting pressure on the animals’ habitats, leaving the species under threat.
– It’s amazing that scientists continue to find so many new species. But since many of them are already endangered, WWF is calling on governments in this region to step up protection for these amazing creatures and their habitats, says WWF Secretary General in Sweden Gustaf Lind.