Five new species of wild animals discovered in the Tibet Autonomous Region (southwestern China)

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White-cheeked macaque Photo: screenshot of the video posted on Sina Weibo

Five new animal species of wild animals have been discovered in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, sparking enthusiasm among Chinese netizens for the region’s ecology.

The discovery of the five new species is the result of an eight-year survey of terrestrial wildlife in the Autonomous Region conducted by the Tibet Regional Forestry and Grassland Bureau. Covering an area of ​​6,346 square kilometers, this is the second such survey to be conducted by the office, the Tibet Business Daily reported on Sunday.

According to the report, these five species include three types of frogs and one type of macaque and bushmaster snake. The investigation also discovered 20 species that were not previously known to live in Tibet.

Living in Medog County in southern Tibet, the white-cheeked macaque is the only mammal of the five new species. The species was first described in 2015 by its discoverers, Chinese primatologists Li Cheng, Zhao Chao and Fan Pengfei. in an academic article.

White-cheeked macaques are hardy, with males noticeably larger than females. The backs of these animals range from yellowish brown to chocolate brown, while their cheeks sport the distinctive grayish-white hairs that gave them their name.

Protobothrops himalayanus, a type of bushmaster snake, was discovered in the Himalayan mountains in 2012. Its most distinctive features are its red head and red eyes. It can be up to 1.5 meters long.

The discovery of the snake is seen as a great challenge to the idea that the Himalayan mountains are a desolate and lifeless region.

Liu Wulin, a researcher at the Tibet Forest Planning and Research Institute, told the Guangming Daily that the discovery of such a large poisonous snake is an indication of the diversity of local species and that the local ecological environment is highly native and not damaged because predators need a food chain to survive.

The discovery of the new species was applauded by Chinese internet users.

“Their existence shows that the environment in Tibet has been well protected. Tibet is a treasure house of plants and animals, and there must be many other species to discover,” commented a user on Sina Weibo.

More than 900 researchers participated in the survey, which examined the distribution of wild animals in Tibet, their habitats, population size and changing trends. The identification of threats to the habitats of wild animals, an examination of their domestication and reproduction as well as trade were also the focus of the investigation.

Researchers took numerous photos of rare species of wildlife such as snow leopards and takins. Tibet’s diverse species of wildlife make it a haven for photographers obsessed with nature photography.

Some local herders also took their cameras and climbed high mountains to see the wild animals. A Tibetan photographer, Qupeng, told the Global Times that he and other photographers had already spent 35 days filming a snow leopard mother nursing her cubs outside a cave.

He expressed his deep love for the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and its wildlife, and said he hoped his photos could raise awareness about environmental protection.


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