Biologists from around the world are doing their best to protect and preserve the 163 Mekong species discovered last year. The Greater Mekong region is located in Southeast Asia, and it has always been considered one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth.
The Mekong River runs through China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Earlier this week, the officials from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released a new report about the new Mekong species.
More precisely, they are trying to raise awareness about the threats of illegal animal trading and development. According to Jimmy Borah, the WWF Wildlife Programme Manager for Greater Mekong this region has been a magnet for many scientists thanks to its incredible biodiversity.
Also, dozens of species of plants and animals are discovered here every year. He further adds that these scientists have just a few resources on which they can rely to protect and save the newly discovered Mekong species.
During the 2015 survey, the researchers discovered three mammals, over 120 plant species, 14 reptiles, eleven fish, and nine amphibians. This large-scale project represents a major step forward towards the conservation of these species.
The conservationists are concerned that many of these animals will go extinct even before being discovered, especially due to poaching and development. Some of the most interesting discoveries include a Laos snake called Parafimbrios lao.
The scales on its head have the colors of the rainbow when they reflect the sun. According to Alexandre Teynié, a scientist from the French National Institute for Agriculture Research, Parafimbrios lao is located in an area which already underwent major environmental changes.
As such, habitat loss might represent a major factor leading to the extinction of this snake. Another interesting species is a tiny amphibian, known as Tylototriton anguliceps because it is the fourth amphibian ever discovered in Thailand.
The experts stress that many wealthy collectors across the world would pay a fortune for some of the rarest endangered Mekong species. Poachers take down many animals every year and sell them on the Chinese black market for thousands of dollars. That is why the conservationists request the governments to issue strict regulations against illegal wildlife trading.