Greater Mekong reaffirms its designation as biological treasure trove

Greater Mekong reaffirms its designation as biological treasure trove

The Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia, which encompasses Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, reaffirmed its designation as a biological treasure trove last year, when biologists discovered 163 new species in the region.

With an intention to draw attention to the new species as well as potential threats of development and illegal wildlife trading, the World Wide Fund (WWF) reported the new species in its latest report.

Dragon-like lizards and mouse-shaped flowers were among the new species identified last year along the Mekong River, which starts from China’s Tibetan-Qinghai Plateau and ends in the South China Sea off Southern Vietnam.

WWF-Greater Mekong’s Wildlife Program Manager Jimmy Borah said, “The Greater Mekong region is a magnet for the world’s conservation scientists because of the incredible diversity of species that continue to be discovered here. These scientists… ensure that these newly discovered species are protected and saved.”

The list of new species also includes a newt resembling a Klingon from “Star Trek”; a rainbow-headed snake; a rare banana species discovered in Thailand; a purple mouse-eared flower found in Burma; a gecko with pale blue spotted skin and piercing dark eyes; and a wooly-headed bat in Vietnam.

The Greater Mekong Region has long been attracting biologists from around the globe who found more than 2,400 new species between 1997 and 2015 in the area. Te discovery of new species continues at a rate of two per week.