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WWF confirm 224 new species of animals and plants discovered

The World Wildlife Fund has updated its New Species Discoveries report with 35 new reptiles, 17 amphibians, 16 fish, 155 plants and one mammal.

Update:
WWF confirm 224 new species of animals and plants discovered
HANDOUTAFP

The latest New Species Discoveries report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has added 224 new species of vertebrate plants and animals in the Greater Mekong region. The WWF produces a report every year, but suspended it in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic.

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WWF report confirms rich biodiversity

A devil-horned newt, drought-resilient bamboo and a monkey named after a volcano were among 224 new species discovered, despite the "intense threat" of habitat loss.

The discoveries listed in the report include a new rock gecko found in Thailand, a mulberry tree species in Vietnam, and a big-headed frog in Vietnam and Cambodia that is already threatened by deforestation.

The new species underlined the rich biodiversity of the Mekong region, which encompasses Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and was testament to the resilience of nature in surviving in fragmented and degraded natural habitats, WWF said.

A Megophrys frigida
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A Megophrys frigidaBENJAMIN TAPLEY/WWFvia REUTERS

"These species are extraordinary, beautiful products of millions of years of evolution, but are under intense threat, with many species going extinct even before they are described," said K. Yoganand, WWF-Greater Mekong's regional lead for wildlife and wildlife crime.

The area is home to some of the world's most endangered species, at risk of habitat destruction, diseases from human activities and the illegal wildlife trade.

A United Nations report last year said wildlife trafficking in Southeast Asia was creeping back after a temporary disruption from coronavirus restrictions, which saw countries shut borders and tighten surveillance.

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