New animal species in the Himalayas

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In the past ten years more than 350 animal and plant species have been discovered in the eastern part of the Himalaya mountains. From 1998 to 2008 scientist researched the region.
The research was conducted in the eastern Himalayas, bordering Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal en Tibet. This region is biologically very rich, because two continental plates collide here. The area is also very difficult to pass through and was therefore not well described yet. A WWF drew up an extensive report on the discovered species. They include 16 amphibians, 16 reptiles, 14 fishes, 2 birds, 2 mammals, and over 60 invertebrates. Also 244 plant species were discovered.

One of the more salient discoveries is that of a new primate species, Macaca munzala. The latest primate discovery dates back to over a hundred years ago. This primate lives at an altitude of 2000 to 3500 metres high. Also a new deer species was found, the smallest kind in the world, (Muntiacus putaoensis). Other interesting discoveries were a fish with a snake head (Channa aurantimaculata) and a ‘flying frog’ (Rhacophorus suffry). Also a gecko fossil of more than a million years old was a remarkable find.

The scientists were impressed by the biological richness of the region. The region suffers greatly from global warming. Therefore, the head of the WWF stresses the importance of climate change. ‘If global warming is not stopped, these natural riches will disappear forever’.

The complete report ‘The Eastern Himalayas – Where Worlds Collide’ can be read and downloaded from the website of the WWF.