A conservation group has said 224 new species were discovered in the Greater Mekong region in 2020, despite the “intense threat” of habitat loss.
The discoveries listed in a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) include a new rock gecko found in Thailand, a mulberry tree species in Vietnam, a monkey named after a volcano, and a big-headed frog in Vietnam and Cambodia that is already threatened by deforestation.
The WWF said the 224 discoveries underlined the rich biodiversity of the Mekong region, which encompasses Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and were testament to the resilience of nature in surviving in fragmented and degraded natural habitats.
The area is home to some of the world’s most endangered species, at risk of habitat destruction, diseases from human activities and the illegal wildlife trade.
A United Nations report last year said wildlife trafficking in Southeast Asia was creeping back after a temporary disruption from coronavirus restrictions, which saw countries shut borders and tighten surveillance. (NNT)