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Myanmar’s ghostly monkey is among the new species discovered in Mekong Region | Environment News
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Myanmar’s ghostly monkey is among the new species discovered in Mekong Region | Environment News

Popa langur was found on the steep hillsides a extinct volcano in Myanmar, one of the 224 new species that the World Wildlife Fund has listed.

One of the 224 new species in the World Wildlife Funds (WWF), is a monkey with ghostly white spots around its eyes.

The report of conservation groups highlights the need for protecting the rich biodiversity and habitats of the region, which includes Vietnam Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, as well as Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

The species were listed in 2020, but the last year’s report was delayed.

Popa langur is the name given to the monkey because it lives in the steep hillsides of the extinct volcano Mt Popa in Myanmar. It is the only mammal that was discovered.

There are also dozens more reptiles, newts, frogs, and fish, along with 155 plant species, which includes the only known succulent bamboo species.

The Mekong region is a biodiversity hotspot. It is home to tigers and Asian elephants, saola, an extremely rare animal also known as the Asian unicorn or spindlehorn, and many other species.

Researchers in Vietnam also found the brightly-colored Mount Ky Quan San San horned fowl at an altitude greater than 2,000m (6500 feet) on the peak that gave it its name.

This latest list includes more than 3,000 species that have been identified in the region since 1997 according to the WWF.

According to the report, genetic matching of bones from Britain’s Natural History Museum and recently collected bones led to the identification. Its prominent distinguishing characteristics include the large white rings around its eyes, and its front-pointing whiskers.

Fauna and Flora International worked together with the WWF to capture images using camera traps of the monkeys in 2018. FFI reported this discovery late last year.

Under threat

The report stated that the monkey is a candidate for listing as a critically endangered species on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. This is because only 200-250 monkeys are believed to survive in the wild in a few places.

It is urgent to do this work. More than 38,000 out of 138,000 species IUCN tracks are in danger of extinction.

A new begonia species with reddish-colored flowers and a fruit resembling a berry was also found in the Uplands of Myanmar. These areas are where illegal mining and logging have become a serious threat to the country’s political stability, which has been in turmoil since the military takeover nearly a year back.

Despite human encroachments in tropical forests and other wild areas, much of the Greater Mekong remains unexplored. Every year, dozens of new species are discovered.

Not all new species can be found deep within jungles. The report stated that a new species of ginger plant, stink bug, was discovered because of its pungent smell. It is similar to big beetles Thais use for making a type of chilli dip paste that can be used with rice.

It was found in Northeast Thailand in a plant store.

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