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Last updated at 17:10 GMT, Monday, 12 December 2011

Scientists find 208 new species

Summary

12 December 2011

Two hundred and eight new species of animals and plants were identified in the Greater Mekong in Southeast Asia last year. The new species are highlighted in a report from WWF, which is warning that the area is under threat from rapid development.

Reporter
Rachel Harvey

Self-cloning lizard that was identified around Greater Mekong in Southeast Asia

A self-cloning lizard which reproduces via cloning without the need for males

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Report

Carnivorous plants capable of consuming a small rat; a female only lizard that reproduces by cloning; a psychedelic blue, orange and yellow gecko and 25 species of fish are among the new discoveries made in the Greater Mekong region last year. WWF says the latest star in the wildlife pantheon is probably the newly identified snub-nosed monkey, which has an apparent aversion to wet weather.

WWF says the region is a treasure trove of biodiversity. But with the economies of South East Asia growing rapidly, pressure is mounting on land and resources putting natural habitats at risk.

WWF is calling on the countries of the Greater Mekong, which are due to meet in Burma this month, to put conservation and sustainability at the heart of their plans for development.

Rachel Harvey, BBC News

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Vocabulary

carnivorous plants

plants that feed on insects

lizard

a small reptile with a long body, long tail and four legs

the wildlife pantheon

a selection of species considered more famous or important

aversion

strong dislike of

a treasure trove of biodiversity

a place where there are many fantastic animals and plants which haven't been seen by scientists before

pressure is mounting

gradually increasing the exploitation of something

resources

supplies of raw materials

natural habitats

areas that offer the right conditions for a species to develop

conservation

the preservation of species

sustainability

keeping something going without outside help

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