Myanmar ghost monkey among new species discovered in Mekong region | Environment News
Popa langur found on the steep slopes of an extinct volcano in Myanmar among 224 new species listed by the World Wildlife Fund.
A monkey with ghostly white circles around its eyes is among 224 new species listed in the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) latest update on the greater Mekong region.
The conservation group’s report highlights the need to protect the rich biodiversity and habitats of the region, which includes Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
Species listed were found in 2020, but last year’s report was delayed.
The monkey is called the Popa langur because it lives on the steep slopes of the extinct Mount Popa volcano in Myanmar. It is the only new mammal discovered.
There are also dozens of newly identified reptiles, frogs and newts, fish and 155 species of plants, including the only known species of succulent bamboo, found in Laos.
The Mekong region is a biodiversity hotspot and home to tigers, Asian elephants, saola – an extremely rare animal also known as an Asian unicorn or spindle – and thousands of other species.
In Vietnam, researchers have also found the brightly colored horned frog of Mount Ky Quan San at an elevation of over 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) on the peak that gives it its name.
Including this latest list, scientists have identified more than 3,000 new species in the region since 1997, WWF said.
The Popa langur was identified based on the genetic match of recently collected bones with specimens from Britain’s Natural History Museum collected over a century ago, according to the report. Two main distinguishing features were the large white rings around his eyes and his forward-pointing whiskers.
WWF, in collaboration with Fauna and Flora International, captured images of the monkeys using camera traps in 2018. FFI reported the find late last year.
Under the threat
New species alert! 📣🥳
In 2020, an incredible 224 species have been discovered in the Greater Mekong region by a group of scientists 🌏
Among them are Mount Ky Quan San horned frog and slug snake 👇🐸🐍 #MekongNewSpecies
— WWF UK (@wwf_uk) January 27, 2022
The monkey is a candidate for listing on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as a critically endangered species, as only 200 to 250 of them would survive the wild, in a handful. Parks.
Underlining the urgency of such work, more than 38,000 of the 138,000 species monitored by the IUCN are threatened with extinction.
A new type of begonia with reddish flowers and a berry-like fruit has also been found in the highlands of Myanmar, where illegal mining and logging have become an increasingly serious threat in the country. , which is in the midst of political unrest following a military takeover. almost a year ago.
Despite human encroachment on rainforests and other wilderness areas, much of the Greater Mekong is still little explored and every year dozens of new species are discovered – a beacon of hope when so many species are disappearing.
Not all new species are found deep in the jungles. One of the new plant species is a ginger plant called “stink bug” for its pungent odor similar to the large beetles that Thais use to make a kind of chilli dip paste served with rice, according to the report.
It was found in northeast Thailand, in a herbal store.