New monkey species discovered in Northern Myanmar

The discovered monkey species (Rhinopithecus strykeria) is new to science but the local people of Myanmar already knew it well. Scientists first learned of ‘Snubby’ – as they nicknamed the species – from hunters in Myanmar’s forested, remote, and mountainous (Himalayan) Kachin state in early 2010. Little is known about the monkey’s behaviour in the wild, its distribution range, or its value to local communities. Not surprisingly, this species is likely to be classified as critically endangered due to its restricted range and significant hunting pressures.

Rhinopithecus strykeri_Martin Aveling_FFI

In addition to Rhinopithecus strykeria a self-cloning skink, five carnivorous plants, and a unique leaf warbler are among the 208 species newly described by science in the Greater Mekong region during 2010. In total 145 plants, 28 reptiles, 25 fish, 7 amphibians, 2 mammals and 1 bird have been discovered in the last year.

The Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia through which the Mekong river flows comprises the countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China (including Yunnan province). The region is home to some of the planet’s most endangered and charismatic wild species including tiger, Asian elephant, Mekong dolphin and Mekong giant catfish, in addition to hundreds of newly discovered species. The Mekong giant catfish is one of the flagship species that features in the WWF Greater Mekong programme that is supported by the EAZA IUCN/SSC Southeast Asia Campaign .

Between 1997 and 2009 an incredible 1,376 species were discovered by science across this region alone. However, while these discoveries highlight the unique biodiversity of the Greater Mekong they also reveal the fragility of this region’s diverse species and habitats. The plight of the wild tiger, whose numbers have dropped by a dramatic 70 percent in a little over a decade, and the extinction of the Javan rhino in Vietnam during 2010 are urgent reminders that biodiversity is still being lost at an alarming rate from man-made pressures.

Download the WWF Greater Mekong project report here

Source: WWF in Cambodia

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