WWF: 380 new animal and plant species discovered on the Mekong

Science biodiversity

Almost 400 new animal and plant species discovered on the Mekong

The Mekong River is the longest river in the world's 12th and 7th in Asia, which flows through six countries: China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.  In this area I visited the Mekong River which drains most of the area in Thailand, one of the rivers of the Mekong River are used by the people of Thailand for their daily needs such as transportation, utilization of the fishery, even as a tourist area .

With a length of more than 4000 kilometers, the Mekong crosses China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam

Source: Getty Images

It is considered one of the most beautiful and liveliest rivers in the world: the mighty Mekong, which crosses six countries in Southeast Asia. Scientists have now discovered 380 new species there. But the joy is clouded.

In the Southeast Asian Mekong region, scientists have discovered 380 species of animals and plants in just two years that have never been described before. Most “new” species have been documented in Vietnam and Thailand, followed by Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, according to a report released Monday Environmental Foundation WWF.

The new discoveries showed that the region is still “fertile ground for scientific exploration and a biodiversity hotspot.” However, they also made it dramatically clear how much is at stake from the increasing destruction of habitats.

More about endangered animals and plants

Previously unknown species include the blue-headed lizard (Calotes goetzi) from Cambodia, which changes color in defense, and a species of frog (Theloderma khoii) from northern Vietnam, which camouflages itself with a moss-like skin texture. In addition, an extremely poisonous Line (Bungarus suzhenae), named after a snake goddess in Chinese legend.

The only mammal on the list is a mouse-eared bat (Myotis hayesi) from Cambodia. In return, all the more beautiful flowers were discovered, such as the bright pink-yellow mini orchid Dendrobium fuscifaucium (Laos) and new species of begonias and rhododendrons.

The undated photo provided by the WWF shows a blue-headed lizard (Calotes goetzi) from Cambodia.  In just two years, scientists have discovered 380 never-before-described animal and plant species in Southeast Asia's Mekong region.  Most

The previously unknown blue-headed lizard (Calotes goetzi) has been discovered by scientists in Cambodia.

Source: picture alliance/dpa/WWF

Since 1997, 3,389 previously unknown plants, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals have been documented, announced WWF Germany. State-of-the-art technologies would help, such as bioacoustic methods for analyzing the sounds made by animals or advances in genetic sequencing, the report says.

“In the Mekong region, there are probably still countless species that are unknown to science. Animal and plant species could be wiped out forever before we even know they exist,” warned Stefan Ziegler from WWF Germany. Among other things, huge hydroelectric power plants and massive poaching pose a threat. The aim must be to protect the biologically valuable areas on the Mekong across borders and permanently, emphasized Ziegler.

More about nature and biodiversity

On the occasion of the International Day of Biodiversity on May 22, the WWF also called on the federal government to do more to protect global biodiversity. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced in September 2022 at the UN General Assembly that international biodiversity funding would be increased to 1.5 billion euros per year by 2025. In view of the extinction of species, Germany must finally “press the gas pedal” and fulfill the promises.

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