WWF announces discovery of 157 new species in Southeast Asia

A bat which looks like *NSYNC's Lance Bass, a gibbon named for Luke Skywalker, and a toad which seems to hav...

Posted: Dec 12, 2018 12:08 PM
Updated: Dec 12, 2018 12:08 PM

A bat which looks like *NSYNC's Lance Bass, a gibbon named for Luke Skywalker, and a toad which seems to have come "from Middle Earth," are among 157 new species discovered in the Greater Mekong Region last year, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund.

Three mammal, 23 fish, 14 amphibian, 26 reptile and 91 plant species were found in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, in some of the region's most impenetrable terrain, such as remote mountainous and dense jungle areas, as well as isolated rivers and grassland.

Animals

Asia

Continents and regions

Life forms

Non-profit and NGO organizations

Southeast Asia

World Wildlife Fund

Animal poaching and trafficking

Animals and society

Environment and natural resources

Society

Wildlife

However, experts warned that many more undiscovered species will be lost due to deforestation, climate change, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.

"There are many more species out there waiting to be discovered and tragically, many more that will be lost before that happens," Stuart Chapman, WWF's Asia-Pacific Regional Director for Conservation Impact, said in a statement. "It doesn't have to be this way. Ensuring that large reserves are designated for wildlife, along with increased efforts to close illegal wildlife trade markets, will go a long way to conserving the extraordinary wildlife diversity in the Mekong region."

Much of the wildlife described in the new report -- "New Species on the Block" -- is already at risk of population loss or even extinction.

This fragility ranges from bamboo -- a variety with unique bulb-like features at its base, discovered in Cambodia's fragrant Cardamom Mountains, vulnerable to clearing -- to the new thismia herb from Laos, already endangered because its habitat has been leased out for limestone mining.

Of the new mammals discovered, the Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon was first sighted in mid-2017 and named after the "Star Wars" character, to actor Mark Hamill's delight. Already however, it is the 25th most endangered primate in the world and faces a "grave and imminent risk to its survival as (do) many other small ape species in southern China and Southeast Asia due to habitat loss and hunting," according to the team which discovered it.

While Laos and Myanmar have tried to clamp down on the illegal wildlife trade, by increasing penalties and shutting down shops and markets, poachers can easily capture and transport animals across borders, particularly in places such as Mongla and Tachilek in Myanmar, said Lee Poston, spokesman for the WWF in the Greater Mekong area.

Poston said snares fashioned from cheap bicycle cable are often used indiscriminately by poachers, both to catch bushmeat for local consumption and to capture endangered species such as leopards and tigers for the wildlife trade. While he praised the work of local rangers who track and survey the areas for traps, the sheer quantity make the task of removing them difficult.

Despite the challenges, Poston said the new report was a "testament to the resiliency of nature."

"By highlighting these incredible discoveries by hundreds of the world's scientists, we are sending a message that even though the threats are immense to wildlife in the Greater Mekong, there is still hope for the future, because so many amazing new species are being discovered all the time," he said.

In a statement, Chapman said "there is blood, sweat and tears behind every new discovery. But it's a race against time to announce a new discovery so steps can be taken to protect it before it's too late."

West Lafayette
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 82°
Kokomo
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 74°
Rensselaer
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Fowler
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 70°
Williamsport
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 74°
Crawfordsville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 69°
Frankfort
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Delphi
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 75°
Monticello
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
Logansport
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events