Bangkok: A Vietnamese “crocodile lizard” and a Thai turtle found on sale in a local market are among more than 100 new species discovered in the ecologically diverse but threatened Mekong region last year, researchers said.
The South-East Asian countries flanking the Mekong river, which snakes down from the Tibetan plateau to the South China Sea, are among the most biodiverse in the world.
Each year scientists announce scores of new species discovered in the region, which includes Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
But there are fears that many more species could die out before they are found in the region whose jungle and river ecosystems are increasingly threatened by roads, dams and a thriving illegal wildlife trade.
They include 11 amphibians, two fish, 11 reptiles, 88 plants and three mammals.
“While the global trends are worrisome, and the threats against species and their habitats here in the Greater Mekong are massive, these new species discoveries give us enormous hope,” said WWF’s Lee Poston yesterday reported by Thestar.