rough-coated-frog-ralph-hendrix-wwf.jpgA gecko with orange eyes, a bird that would rather walk, and a fanged frog that eats birds are among 163 new species discovered last year in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia, WWF announced this week.

In 2008 alone, scientists identified these and other rare and unique species — 100 plants, 28 fish, 18 reptiles, 14 amphibians, 2 mammals and a bird, the reluctant flyer Nonggang babbler.

“After millennia in hiding these species are now finally in the spotlight, and there are clearly more waiting to be discovered,” said Stuart Chapman, Director of the WWF Greater Mekong Program

1,000 new species from the jungles and rivers of the Mekong area have already been catalogued by WWF from 1997 to 2007.

The group warned, though, that climate change threatens this fragile ecosystem. It hopes that fast progress in UN talks in Bangkok over the next two weeks can lay the groundwork for success at the Copenhagen Climate Summit this December, where the world is scheduled to agree on a new global climate treaty.

(Read more in the Toronto Star)

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