Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Recent Discoveries in the Mekong- Colored Gecko and Snub-nosed Monkey

The Mekong region

The Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia is renowned for being one of the few biodiversity hotspots where new species of wildlife is discovered. Among the recent discoveries made include a unique colored gecko discovered on the Hon Khoai Island in southern Vietnam's Ca Mau Province. This reptile is very much psychedelic in appearance, sporting a variety of colors. These include bright orange legs, a yellow neck, and a blue-gray body with yellow bars on each side. Another is a black and white snub-nosed monkey, which is very much similar to its more attractive golden snub-nosed monkey of China. This unusual monkey is reported to have a "hairstyle" similar to that of Elvis Presley, and is found in the mountains of Burma's Kachin state. However, this region, like many such places, is vulnerable to threats such as deforestation and illegal poaching of wildlife. Some of the animals like the Irrawaddy dolphins are highly endangered as a result of human encroachment. But the most recent tragedy the Mekong had ever witnessed was the loss of the last Vietnamese Javan rhinoceros to extinction. This incident has marked the ongoing threats of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade continuing to exploit the natural treasures of a pristine ecosystem considered by many scientists and researchers as paradise.
This multicolored gecko is one of the recent discoveries made in the Mekong.

Whenever I hear about a news highlighting a recent discovery of some new species of animal, it immediately astonishes me knowing that some corners of the world abound with a rich variety of wildlife. But at the same time, I feel concerned that these regions are vulnerable to man-made threats ranging from deforestation to poaching. And with the discovery of new species like this gecko and monkey, it makes me wonder what will their future be like. Will they stay continue to flourish in numbers, or will they succumb to extinction? My only feeling is that the Mekong is a fragile paradise that must be tightly protected to ensure its species' survival. One of its animals, the Vietnamese Javan rhinoceros, has recently become extinct. Although this incident highlights the plight of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, it should also be considered as a wake-up call to intensify the conservation efforts in order to ensure the species' survival.

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