Newly discovered species in Việt Nam. — Photo courtesy of WWF
HÀ NỘI — As many as 91 new species were discovered in Việt Nam in 2020, including 85 endemic species, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in its Greater Mekong report issued this week.
Nguyễn Văn Trí Tín, biodiversity conservation lead of WWF-Việt Nam, said that with the new discoveries “Việt Nam is definitely one of the places full of potential for research and discovery of new species.”
“These species are the marvellous creations from millions of years of evolution but are now subject to numerous threats. Many species may be extinct before they are discovered."
Among the newly found species is the large-headed frog found in Việt Nam and Cambodia, which is currently threatened by continuous deforestation and forest degradation and the capture of tadpoles for food.
A species of mulberry tree (Artocarpus montanus) living in the mountains of southern and central Việt Nam, related to jackfruit and breadfruit, was first discovered in 70-year-old specimens at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the United States. DNA analysis confirmed this as a new species in 2020.
The report collected hundreds of studies by scientists from universities, preservation organisations and research institutes globally.
It also unveiled that 155 plants, 16 fish, 17 amphibians, 35 reptiles and one mammal species were identified in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), bringing the new ones to 3,007 since 1997.
Other countries in the GMS, namely Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, recorded 133 new species, many of which are facing the risk of extinction due to habitat loss, deforestation, illegal hunting and trade.
Another new report by the WWF also warned that primates in the region have declined seriously in recent decades due to human activities such as illegal logging, land-use conversion and grazing. Hunting and trapping are also exerting huge pressure on the primate population, putting them at risk of extinction. — VNS