21 new species discovered in Bhutan

In a boost to Bhutan's rich biodiversity, 21 new species of amphibians, insects, flowering and non-flowering plants have been discovered
in the country.

These have been clubbed in a book, "The Eastern Himalayas: Where the World Collides", launched by WWF yesterday. Also included in the discovery list are seven species of grass root parasite commonly called lousewort, and a unique frog species Scutiger bhutanensis.

A total of 353 new species have been discovered in the eastern Himalayas -- the whole of Bhutan, parts of India and Nepal -- from 1998 to 2008, that amounts to an average of 35 new species every year. The list includes 244 plants, 16 amphibians, 16 reptiles, 14 fish, two birds, two mammals and about 60 new invertebrates.

The book, however, points out that these species are being threatened by deforestation, shifting cultivation, illegal poaching, pollution and poorly planned infrastructure.

"Notwithstanding incredible diversity of biological resources, the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan, is faced with many threats and challenges, the most prominent ones of which are climate change and poaching. Both of these pressing challenges are trans-boundary and regional in nature and scale," Bhutan's Agriculture Secretary Sherub Gyeltshen said at the launch.

WWF programme director Vijay Moktan told state-run daily Kuensel that the discoveries showcase the unexplored biodiversity in the Himalayas.

"This indicates that ecosystems, necessary for the survival of species in Bhutan, are still intact despite emerging development pressures. Bhutan still provides east-west and north-south connectivity for the eastern Himalayas and its diverse species to thrive and evolve," Moktan said.

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »