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WWF:  More Than 1,000 New Species Discovered in Southeast Asia


An international environmental group says scientists have identified more than 1,000 new species in the Greater Mekong Region over the past decade.

A new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report says striped rabbits, bright pink millipedes and a spider bigger than a dinner plate are among a host of species discovered in the region.

According to WWF, researchers found 1,068 plant and animal species that were previously un-cataloged, or were believed extinct.

The report says most of the new species were found in the largely unexplored jungles and wetlands along the 5,000-kilometer Mekong River, that flows through six Southeast Asian countries - China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. But some were first seen in unusual places - like a Laotian rock rat, thought to be extinct for 11 million years, that turned up in a local food market.

Scientists say many more species are yet be discovered in the area.

It says the findings made between 1997 and 2007 include more than 500 plant species, close to 300 fish, close to 90 frogs and more than 40 lizards.

The report urges the governments of the Greater Mekong to agree on formal cross-border measures to protect the region's immense biodiversity.

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