Flying Frog, Smallest Deer Among 350 New Species in Fragile Himalayas

August 10, 2009

 Among the discoveries are a bright green frog (Rhacophorus suffry) which uses its red and long webbed feet to glide in the air  Photo: WWF  (ChattahBox) — The good news, a flying frog, a green viper, the world’s smallest deer and the first new monkey to be found in over a century are among 350 plus, new species of plants and animals, discovered in the eastern Himalayas in the past decade, the WWF said Monday.

The bad news is the environmental group said the vital habitats of the mountain range biological treasure trove were facing growing pressures from unsustainable development in the region, which spans Nepal, China, India, Bhutan and Myanmar.

In the report gathered between 1998 and 2008, released here,  “The Eastern Himalayas — Where Worlds Collide” the mountainous region rivals Borneo for biological finds, according to the WWF. However it noted 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.”

Already only a quarter of the region’s original habitat, which harbors 10,000 plant species, 300 mammals, 977 bird species, 176 reptiles and 269 types of freshwater fish, including the lowland home of Asian elephants, clouded leopards, cobras and geckos and the high northern region where snow leopards, red pandas and blue sheep are found, remains.

Among the new species discoveries, 94 new species were discovered in Nepal alone, which include 40 plants, 36 invertebrates, seven fish, two amphibians, and nine reptiles including the Heterometrus nepalensis, a scorpion new to the world discovered in the Chitwan National Park in the Terai plains in the south of the country.

Among all the amazing discoveries some of the noteworthy include:

  • A red-footed tree frog known as a “flying frog” because its large webbed feet allow it to glide when falling.
  • A limbless amphibian called a caecilian, that resembles a giant earthworm and lives underground — a significant discovery because caecilians are among the planet’s least-studied creatures.
  • The world’s smallest deer — a miniature muntjac standing just 60-80 centimetres (25-30 inches) tall that was found in northern Myanmar. The first new monkey species to be discovered in over a century. The new species of macaque was one of the highest-dwelling monkeys in the world, living in India’s Arunachal Pradesh state at between 1,600 and 3,500 metres (5,000 and 11,500 feet) above sea level.
  • Among the 242 new plant varieties discovered was an ultramarine blue flower found by two intrepid Chinese botanists who descended into a gorge in Tibet that is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in places.

In December, world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to reach an agreement on a new climate deal, which will replace the existing Kyoto Protocol.

“Only an ambitious and fair deal based on an agreement between rich and poor countries can save the planet and its treasures such as the Himalayas from devastating climate change,” said Kim Carstensen, the leader of the WWF’s Global Climate Initiative.


Comments

2 Responses to “Flying Frog, Smallest Deer Among 350 New Species in Fragile Himalayas”

  1. Flying Frog, Smallest Deer Among 350 New Species in Fragile Himalayas on August 10th, 2009 10:12 am

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  2. world s smallest deer | Fooner on August 10th, 2009 11:21 am

    […] Flying Frog, Smallest Deer Among 350 New Species in Fragile …(ChattahBox) — The good news, a flying frog, a green viper, the world’s smallest deer and the first new monkey to be found in over a century are among 350. … In the report gathered between 1998 and 2008, released here, “The Eastern Himalayas — Where Worlds Collide” the mountainous region rivals Borneo for biological finds, according to the WWF. However it noted climate change, deforestation, overgrazing by domestic livestock and illegal poaching and wildlife trading …Read More […]

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