The rich and unique biodiversity of the Mekong region, which has been discovered only since the recent years, is likely to be put at risk by environmental impacts that climate change is expected to bring, says the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) in a report launched here Friday.
A total of 163 new species have been discovered in the Mekong region – which comprises Cambodia, China, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos – just over the past year.
These include a bird-eating frog, a gecko covered in leopard print, and a new species of banana, according to the WWF report ‘Close Encounters’.
Many of the newly discovered species were "living right under our noses" and already known to local communities, said Stuart Chapman, director of the WWF Greater Mekong Programme. Indeed, scientists worked with local villages to identify species known locally, but not to the global scientific community.
"Some of these areas (where the species are ...