According to a new report launched by WWF, scientists on the Greater Mekong Programme have discovered over a thousand new species within the Mekong Region of Southeast Asia within the last 10 years. The region comprises the six countries through which the Mekong River flows including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan.

While most of the 1068 newly identified species were discovered in the previously unexplored jungles and wetlands of the Mekong region, some seem to have been in full view all along; the Laotion rock rat, thought to be extinct 11 million years ago, was first found by scientists in a local food market, the Siamese Peninsula pitviper was found in the rafters of a restaurant in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.

Ampersand Travel Gumprecht Green Pitviper

Ampersand Travel Gumprecht Green Pitviper

 “It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Stuart Chapman, Director of WWF’s Greater Mekong Programme. “We thought discoveries of this scale were confined to the history books. This reaffirms the Greater Mekong’s place on the world map of conservation priorities.”

You can discover the Mekong Region on our Meandering down the Mekong Tour, spot the Siamese Peninsula pitviper slithering through the rafters on our Thai Adventure itinerary and possibly encounter more new species in Laos’ markets on our Grand Tour of Laos trip.