From 2009 to 2014, scientists have discovered 211 new species of animals in the Eastern Himalayas. This equates to about thirty-four new species discovered annually. The Himalayas stretch from Northern India through Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet along with Myanmar’s far north. A report published by the World Wildlife Funds (WWF) recently states, “Some 133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile, one bird, and one mammal have been discovered.” Some of the species recently discovered have been classified as endangered, considering many factors such as hunting of some of the animals. These new species include the Burmese snub-nosed monkey, ‘Dracula’ fish (named for its unusual fangs), Leptobrachium bompu (frog), Channa andrao (snakehead fish), Musa markkui (wild banana), and Impatiens lohitensis (wildflower). All these species have outstanding qualities such as the snakehead fish’s ability to survive on land for up to four days, and the snub-nosed monkey being easy to detect because of its sneezing when it rains in Myanmar’s remote Kachin state.
The Eastern Himalayas is known for having species that are in danger of going extinct such as the Asian elephant and the one-horned rhinoceros. Only 25% of the original habitat is still intact today. “The natural landscape of the region is currently facing a wide range of threats and pressures, with climate change assessed as by far the most serious, followed by mining, oil and gas projects, road construction and construction of new dams,” the report states. Many factors could cause these new species, along with the others, to become extinct. The report also states, “Invasive species, impact of tourism, water pollution, and illegal hunting, fishing, dams and logging are also among the most serious current issues.” The WWF uses this report as a “colorful” way to bring light the dangers these species are currently facing. They call for “significant additional conservation measures to be introduced and implemented to preserve the habitats and extraordinary biodiversity of the region.”