The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has reported 224 newly discovered species in the Mekong basin, which stretches across parts of Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and Myanmar.
The region covers 200 million acres and is already known for its biodiversity, which makes identifying any new species a challenging task.
It shouldn’t surprise that EcoWatch only now reports of more than 200 new species identified in the area in 2020. This is because scientists typically need to wait to reveal new discoveries until a species is officially described as a new species — a time-consuming process.
To track down new species, researchers used not only data from museum collections and DNA samples but also camera traps and studies on animal behavior.
The WWF report also includes the discovery of 155 plants, including a new type of begonia found in Myanmar, a new mulberry tree in Vietnam, and the only known bamboo species that can inflate and deflate its stem during wet and dry seasons.
The Mekong basin is facing increasing threats of habitat loss from economic development, climate change, and illegal wildlife trade.
This is why the recently discovered species bring new hope to the region.
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