More species discovered in the Greater Mekong
The Greater Mekong is certainly a wildlifer’s paradise and one of the most vital global biodiversity hotspots. In the past decade alone over 1,000 species have been discovered including a rat believed to have been extinct for 11 million years and a hot-pink, cyanide-producing dragon millipede, says a new report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The Greater Mekong comprises six countries through which the Mekong river flows – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. Initial reports confirmed that 1,068 species were identified here between 1997 and 2007. The world’s largest huntsman spider, with a foot-long leg span and the Annamite striped rabbit are only some of the incredible species seen here. While several species were found in the wild, others were recorded in more unusual places such as the food market where a Laotian rock rat, another creature believed to be extinct, was spotted! The Siamese peninsula pit viper was found in a restaurant in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.
“This report cements the Greater Mekong’s reputation as a biological treasure trove – one of the world’s most important storehouses of rare and exotic species,” says Dekila Chungyalpa, Director of the WWF-US Greater Mekong Programme. The report lists 519 plants, 279 fish, 88 frogs, 88 spiders, 46 lizards, 22 snakes, 15 mammals, four birds, four turtles, two salamanders and a toad that were found here and calls for any socio-economic development plans to keep in mind the region’s ecological importance.