New species try to survive in forests
HANOI - Agence France-Presse
One of three new Murina bat species, discovered in Quang Tri province in central Vietnam. AFP photoFrom a devilish-looking bat to a frog that sings like a bird, scientists have identified 129 new species in the Greater Mekong area, the WWF said yesterday in a new report detailing discoveries in 2011. But from forest loss to the construction of major hydropower projects on the Mekong River, existing threats to the region’s biodiversity mean many of the new species are already struggling to survive, the conservation group warned. “The good news is new discoveries. The bad news is that it is getting harder and harder in the world of conservation and environmental sustainability,” Nick Cox, manager of WWF-Greater Mekong’s Species Program, told AFP. Some 129 species were newly recorded last year in the Greater Mekong region, which consists of Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. Some, such as the Beelzebub tube-nosed bat discovered in Vietnam, depend on tropical forests for survival and so are especially vulnerable to deforestation.
In just four decades, 30 percent of the Greater Mekong’s forests have disappeared, the report says.
Others, such as a short-tailed python species found in Myanmar are more at risk from illegal hunting for meat, skins, and the exotic pet trade, the report said.
“Poaching for the illegal wildlife trade poses one of the greatest threats to the existence of many species across Southeast Asia,” Cox said in a statement accompanying the report.