350 new Himalayan species discovered


From British daily The Independent:

Himalayan wilderness yields 350 new species

Smallest species of deer ever known among new forms of wildlife discovered

By Lewis Smith

Monday, 10 August 2009

One of the last frontiers of nature has yielded more than 350 new species of animals and plants in just the last 10 years. The eastern Himalayas contain vast tracts of remote and inaccessible terrain that few scientists have managed to reach and which provide a home for some of the planet’s most mysterious animals.

New species are turning up at a rate of 35 a year and highlights uncovered in the region since 1998 include the miniature muntjac (Muntiacus putaoensis), also known as the leaf deer, which at 60 to 80cm tall and 11kg is the smallest species of deer in the world, and the Arunachal macaque (Macaca munzala) – the first new monkey to be found in a century.

Among the most visually striking are the red-footed but otherwise bright green flying frog (Rhacophorus suffry) and Smith’s litter frog (Leptobrachium smithi), which boasts huge golden eyes and was described by the WWF, which has compiled a report on the region, as “among the most extraordinary-looking” frogs in the world.

Other new species include catfish with sticky stomachs, a luridly green pit viper, a freshwater beetle living at 5,100 metres above sea level – higher than any other beetle – and a bird restricted to a site less than a square mile.

Overall, from 1998 to 2008, two mammals, two birds, 16 amphibians, 16 reptiles, 14 fish, 244 plants and more than 60 invertebrates have been identified in the region, according to the WWF report, The Eastern Himalayas – Where Worlds Collide.

The area is already the stronghold of the Bengal tiger, the only home of the snow leopards and the last sanctuary of the greater one-horned rhino, but has so much unknown wildlife that researchers expect many more discoveries to be made in the future.

The eastern Himalayas – divided between Nepal, Bhutan and parts of China, India, Bangladesh and Burma – is regarded as one of the most rugged and beautiful areas of the world. …

Discoveries have also been made of species which lived in the region millions of years ago and were preserved when they became encased in amber resin.

Among the creatures preserved in amber was the earliest known gecko (Cretaceogekko burmae), from 100 million years ago which was identified in 2008. Others included the oldest known tick and the earliest recorded mushroom.

The region is a hotspot for wildlife and harbours a huge number of species including 10,000 plants, 300 mammals, 977 birds, 176 reptiles, 105 amphibians and 269 types of freshwater fish. WWF has launched the Climate for Life campaign to raise public awareness of environmental problems in the Himalayas and is working with local communities to help them cope with the impacts of climate change.

See also here.

Photos are here.

Cute Animal in Danger: Asian Babbler: here.

Snow leopards in Nepal: here.

October 2011. A major report has been published entitled State of Nepal’s Birds 2010. Produced by Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN; BirdLife in Nepal) and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, it was officially launched by Parmanand Jha, the Right Honourable Vice President of Nepal, at a ceremony in Kathmandu: here.

The Nepalese Government has pledged that the country will lead the way in developing global standards to value ecosystem services; the processes supplied by healthy ecosystems that benefit humankind, such as clean drinking water and crop pollination: here.

WASHINGTON, DC, February 14, 2011 –The first ever snow leopard prey survey in Bhutan’s newest national park revealed astonishing footage of snow leopards scent-marking, a sub-adult snow leopard, Tibetan wolf, threatened Himalayan serow, musk deer and a healthy population of blue sheep, the main food source for snow leopards: here.

Crested black macaques of Sulawesi: here.

The tails of leopard geckos can stay active for 30 minutes after their owners have abandoned them: here.

2 thoughts on “350 new Himalayan species discovered

  1. Pingback: Protecting bird habitats in Nepal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Bar-headed geese flying over the Himalayas, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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