Amorous slug, orange snake among finds on Borneo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





A report by the global conservation group WWF on the discoveries also calls for protecting the threatened species and equatorial rain forest on Borneo, the South China Sea island that is the world’s third-largest and is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

“The challenge is to ensure that these precious landscapes are still intact for future generations,” said the report.

The search for the new species was part of the Heart of Borneo project that started in February 2007 and is backed by the WWF and the three countries that share the island. The aim is to conserve 85,000 square miles  of rain forest that was described by Charles
Darwin as “one great luxuriant hothouse made by nature for herself.”

Explorers have been visiting Borneo for centuries, but vast tracts of its interior are yet to be biologically explored, said Adam Tomasek, leader of WWF’s Heart of Borneo project. “If this stretch of irreplaceable rain forest can be conserved for our children, the promise of more discoveries must be a tantalising one for the next generation of researchers to contemplate,” he said.

The scientists’ discoveries include the world’s longest known stick insect at 56.7 centimeters, a flame-colored snake and a frog that flies and changes its skin and eye color. In total, 67 plants, 29 invertebrates, 17 fish, five frogs, three snakes and two lizards and a brand new species of bird were discovered, said the report.

Borneo has long been known as a hub for monster insects, including giant cockroaches about 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. The Heart of Borneo, the core island area the conservation effort targets, is home to ten species of primate, more than 350 birds, 150 reptiles and amphibians and a staggering 10,000 plants that are found nowhere else in the world, the report says.

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