Flying frog among 353 new Himalayan species: WWF

Flying frog among 353 new Himalayan species: WWF Kathmandu, Aug 10: A flying frog, the world's smallest deer and the first new monkey to be found in over a century are among 350 new species discovered in the eastern Himalayas in the past decade, the WWF said on Monday.

But the environmental group said the vital habitats of the mountain range were facing growing pressures from unsustainable development in the region, which spans Nepal, China, India, Bhutan and Myanmar.

In a report released here, it said climate change, deforestation, overgrazing by domestic livestock and illegal poaching and wildlife trading threatened one of the biologically richest areas of the planet.

"In the last half-century, this area of South Asia has faced a wave of pressures as a result of population growth and the increasing demand for commodities," said the report, "The Eastern Himalayas -- Where Worlds Collide."

"Only 25 percent of the original habitats in the region remain intact. For the unique species of the Eastern Himalayas, this means that today 163 are considered globally threatened," it said.

The WWF said 353 new species were discovered in the region between 1998 and 2008, among them a red-footed tree frog known as a "flying frog" because its large webbed feet allow it to glide when falling.

Bureau Report