200 New Species

While finding 200 new species is amazing, what the Conservation International research team and the local researchers had to do to get to the new land says something about the state of our world. Combining travel by small plane, dinghy, helicopter, and walking, the team worked their way through especially rugged and remote terrain in New Guinea.

Rainforest 2Many of the 200 new species are minute creatures such as katydids and ants. Six new mammals were found, including a Tube-nosed fruit bat, a small vole-like animals, and what looks like a small opossum. CBS has a wonderful slideshow of about a dozen of the newly found animals.

Conservation International has a Youtube video showing the researchers collecting plant specimens.

While this is amazing news, and we should marvel at the researcher’s dedication, we should also remember just how remote the land containing these creatures is and how tiny these animals are. Gone are the days of the explorers who found new lands which were home to new, large mammals. And let’s hope that people don’t get the impression that this discovery means the world of nature and its inhabitants are doing better than they really are. While we celebrate the new species, thousands of animals and even some human tribes are in danger of being lost forever. Just miles from where the new plants and animals were discovered, palm oil plantations have wiped out everything natural. So let’s keep a level perspective on what this discovery of 200 animals and plants really means.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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