More Than 1,200 Species Discovered In Amazon

More than 1,200 new species of plants and animals have been revealed in the Amazon rainforest over the past decade according to a new report.

"Amazon Alive! A Decade of Discoveries 1999-2009," published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), showcases the strange diversity housed in the world's biggest rainforest which spans eight South American countries.

Six-hundred-and-thirty-seven innovative species of plant were found during the period, as well as nearly 500 new fish and amphibians, including 24 new poison dart frogs.

A four-meter long anaconda snake - native to Bolivia and the first of its genus to be recognized since 1936 - was among 55 new reptile species discovered, and a Bolivian river dolphin was one of 39 new species of mammals.

A vibrantly colored bald parrot (Pyrilia aurantiocephala) was one of the highlights of 16 new bird species. The list of new discoveries amounts to more than the mutual total of new species found in Borneo, the Congo Basin and the Eastern Himalayas during the same time period, the report says.

Nearly one fifth of the Amazon rainforest has been cut down in the past 50 years, Leape says. This is mainly due to increased global demand for soya, beef and, more recently, biofuels.

Governments from around the world are presently meeting at the United Nations biodiversity summit in Nagoya, Japan with the aim of setting new targets to stem eco-system loss. Bookmark and Share