New species found in Mekong, but survival uncertain: WWF



London: Wildlife is struggling to survive in the Greater Mekong region despite 126 new species being discovered, researchers say.

A new bat named after its devilish appearance, a frog that sings like a bird and a ruby-eyed pit viper are among the 126 species newly identified by scientists in the Greater Mekong region in 2011.

Among the 10 species highlighted in the World Wildlife Fund For Nature (WWF) report, entitled Extra Terrestrial, is the aptly named Beelzebub’s tube-nosed bat.

The demonic-looking creature is known only from Vietnam and depends on tropical forest for its survival and is especially vulnerable to deforestation.

In just four decades, 30 percent of the Greater Mekong’s forests have disappeared.

“While the 2011 discoveries affirm the Mekong as a region of astonishing biodiversity, many new species are already struggling to survive in shrinking habitats,” Sky News quoted Nick Cox, Manager of WWF-Greater Mekong’s Species Programme, as saying.

“Only by investing in nature conservation, especially protected areas, and developing greener economies, will we see these new species protected and keep alive the hope of finding other intriguing species in years to come,” Cox added.

ANI