The World Wide Fund for Nature on Monday announced the discovery of 163 new species in the Greater Mekong region. However, the conservation group’s report said haphazard development, that included dams and mines, was posing a threat to these species.
Among the discoveries are the rainbow-headed snake, dragon-like lizard, a gecko in Laos with pale blue skin and a rare banana species discovered in northern Thailand that faces extinction because of deforestation.
The WWF-Greater Mekong’s Wildlife Programme Manager, Jimmy Borah, said “The Greater Mekong region keeps reminding us that there are many incredible, unexplored areas, leading to new discoveries happening every year and it is crucial that we protect them before they are lost,” Reuters reported.
The Greater Mekong, home to several endangered species, is a site for illegal wildlife trade. Borah said, Many collectors are willing to pay thousands of dollars or more for the rarest, most unique and most endangered species, often buying them at the region’s illegal wildlife markets.”
A WWF report released in 2016 had said that global numbers of fish, birds, amphibians, mammals and reptiles may decline by as much as two-thirds in a span of 50 years.