Some of 380 species of animals and plants discovered in the last two years in Southeast Asia are at risk of becoming extinct in the short term due to the rapid deterioration of their habitat, according to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature.
While the Mekong region is a global biodiversity hotspot, it is also experiencing a vast array of threats,” the fund’s Asian Species Manager Nilanga Jayasinghe said. “We must continue to invest in the protection and conservation of nature, so these magnificent species don’t disappear before we know of their existence.”
Among the species discovered by an international team of scientists and researchers in five countries (Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam), the fun highlighted a blue-crested lizard that changes color, a frog whose color blends in with moss for camouflage or an orchid reminiscent of a character from Jim Henson’s “muppets.”
Among the 290 species of plants, 19 fish, 24 amphibians, 46 reptiles, and one mammal, there are also the Suzhen krait (an extremely venomous snake), a shrub threatened by the development of casinos in Cambodia, and new types of geckos, according to the report released Monday night.
“To reverse the rapid biodiversity loss in the region, more concerted, science based, and urgent efforts need to be made and conservation measures need more attention from governments, NGOs and the public,” said Truong Nguyen, deputy director of the Institute of Ecology at the Vietnam Academy of Sciences and Technology.
Jayasinghe said it is necessary to “continue investing in the protection and conservation of nature so that these magnificent species do not disappear” before their existence is known.
With many areas still little explored by scientists, nearly 3,400 species of plants, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds have been discovered in this area of the Mekong River basin since 1997.
However, the rapid urban development of this region, with 300 million inhabitants, and the few transformation measures threaten to cause the extinction of hundreds of species.
Source : La Prensa Latina