Thimpu: Experts discover new sneezing monkey species in the Himalayas

Thimpu (PTI): A snub-nosed monkey that sneezes when it rains, a walking fish and a jewel-like snake are among more than 200 new species discovered in the fragile eastern Himalayas, according to a new report by WWF. A report on wildlife in Nepal, Bhutan, the far north of Myanmar, southern Tibet and north eastern India by The World Wildlife Fund said that discoveries in the past five years including 133 plants, 26 species of fish, 10 new amphibians, one reptile, one bird and one mammal.

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“Some of the most striking discoveries include a vibrant blue dwarf ‘walking’ snakehead fish, which can breathe atmospheric air and survive on land for up to four days, although moving in a manner much clumsier than a slithering snake. “The report details an unfortunate monkey whose upturned nose leads to a sneeze every time the rain falls, and a living gem – the bejeweled lance-headed pit viper, which could pass as a carefully crafted piece of jewellery,” the report said.

The snub-nosed monkey – or “Snubby” as they nicknamed the species – from locals in the remote forests of northern Myanmar, who said it was easy to find when it was raining because it often got rainwater in its upturned nose, causing it to sneeze. To avoid the problem, snubby spend rainy days sitting with their heads tucked between their knees, the report said. “These discoveries show that there is still a huge amount to learn about the species that share our world,” said Heather

Sohl, WWF-UK’s chief adviser of species. “The discovery of 211 new species from one of the most biologically rich regions of the world is a celebration of the amazing gift of nature. “With discovery, comes the important responsibility to continue protecting and caring for these precious gift that this world has been blessed with,” said Dechen Dorji of WWF Bhutan.

WWF is supporting countries in the region to develop “green” economies that value nature and the services it provides to millions of people living in the fragile Eastern Himalayas.

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