Crocodile lizard and turtle-eating snail

News 19 December, 2017
  • AFP


    Tuesday, 19 December, 2017 07:46

    Tuesday, 19 December, 2017 07:49

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    A crocodile lizard in Vietnam and a turtle called the man-eater snail are among 115 new species discovered in 2016 in the Greater Mekong subregion, an encouraging sign in these times of threats to biodiversity, announced on Tuesday the WWF.

    “While the overall trend is worrisome, and that the threats on the species and their habitat in the Greater Mekong subregion are important, the discovery of these new species gives us hope,” said Lee Poston of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), interviewed by AFP.

    The Mekong river, which takes birth on the heights of the Himalayas to finish his race in Vietnam, gives his name to this tropical region, largely covered with jungle, which also includes Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma and the chinese province of Yunnan.

    Each year, the scientists of the world wide Fund for nature (WWF) announced the discovery of new species after a long process of evaluation by their peers. In 2015, 163 new species were discovered.

    Often, scientists fear that the species will disappear even before they have been listed as the region’s development is rapid, with the construction of roads and dams, but also the traffic of wild animals.

    It is as well as the 115 new species discovered this year (including 11 amphibians, three mammals, two fish, 11 reptiles and 88 plants), the new species of turtle, known as-eating snail, has been found by chance by a scientist in thailand on a market of the north-east of Thailand.

    The crocodile lizard of Vietnam had been spotted as early as 2003 in the jungle of the north of the country, but it had taken years for scientists managed to establish that it is indeed a new species. There would have been more than 200 specimens of this species, which is threatened by the traffickers and the development of the coal mines.

    For the past 20 years, more than 2500 species have been identified in the region, two discoveries each week.

    One-tenth of the extent of the wild ecosystems of the planet have disappeared in the past twenty years, according to a report by the international Union for the conservation of nature (IUCN) published in September 2016.

    The WWF explains the length of time between the discovery of a new species, and its inclusion in the list of the WWF by the fact that they must pass through several stages, tests of genetic identification to the comparison with the global databases to ensure that the species has not already been listed elsewhere.