KATHMANDU, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- After a decade of
research in the Himalayan region from Nepal to the far north of Myanmar, as well
as southern parts of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, scientists have documented
an amazing treasure trove of 350 new species of plants and animals, 94 of which
were found in Nepal alone.
"Over 350 new species, including the world's smallest
deer, a 'flying frog' and a 100-million-year old gecko have been discovered in
the eastern Himalayas, a biological treasure trove now threatened by climate
change," the World Wildlife Fund's Nepal chapter said in Kathmandu Monday,
releasing the report in which the findings have been documented.
Photo shows a snow leopard found in the
Mt. Qomolangma area, the Himalayan region. (Photo Source:
The report "The Eastern Himalayas -- Where Worlds
Collide" said that in Nepal alone 94 new species were discovered, which include
40 plants, 36 invertebrates, seven fish, two amphibians, and nine reptiles.
One of the most remarkable discoveries in Nepal was
Heterometrus nepalensis, a scorpion new to the world discovered in the Chitwan
National Park in the Terai plains in the south of the country.
This discovery is significant as it is the first
scorpion ever to be discovered in the country and is given the name to honor the
occasion, WWF-Nepal said.
"This enormous cultural and biological diversity
underscores the fragile nature of an environment which risks being lost forever
unless the impacts of climate change are reversed," said Tariq Aziz,the leader
of WWF's Living Himalayas Initiative.
"People and wildlife form a rich mosaic of life
across this rugged and remarkable landscape, making it among the biologically
richest areas on earth. But the Himalayas are also among the most vulnerable to
global climate change."
In December, world leaders will gather in Copenhagen
to reach an agreement on a new climate deal, which will replace the existing
"Only an ambitious and fair deal based on an
agreement between rich and poor countries can save the planet and its treasures
such as the Himalayas from devastating climate change," said Kim Carstensen, the
leader of the WWF's Global Climate Initiative.
The eastern Himalayas are now known to harbor a
staggering 10,000 plant species, 300 mammal species, 977 bird species, 176
reptiles, 105 amphibians and 269 types of freshwater fish. The region also has
the highest density of the Bengal tiger and is the last bastion of the
charismatic greater one-horned rhino.
Historically, the rugged and largely inaccessible
landscape of the eastern Himalayas has made biological surveys in the region
extremely difficult. As a result, wildlife has remained poorly surveyed and
there are large areas that are still biologically unexplored.