WWF announces discovery of 157 new species in Southeast Asia

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The Skywalker gibbon, named for the “Star Wars” character, is one of dozens of new species discovered in the Greater Mekong region in 2017.
Photo: CNN

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 mammals, 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.
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.”
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