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, and a big-headed frog in Vietnam and Cambodia that is already threatened by deforestation.
The 224 discoveries underlined the rich biodiversity of the Mekong region, which encompasses Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, said WWF.
But it also highlights the threats facing wildlife in fragmented and degraded natural habitats, with experts and scientists urging greater international cooperation to preserve what’s left.
The discoveries in the Mekong “demonstrate that the region is still a frontline for scientific exploration and a hotspot of species diversity,” the report said. “However, these discoveries also are a stark reminder of what we stand to lose if human settlement and development activities in the region continue to destroy the natural environment.
“Many species go extinct before they are even discovered, driven by habitat destruction, diseases spread by human activities, predation and competition brought by invasive species, and the devastating impacts of illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade.”