Biologists discover 700 new wildlife species in Cambodian mangroves

 The mangrove forest is home to hundreds of species of bats, birds, fishes and insects. — The Guardian/FileA survey conducted in the Cambodian Mangroves has found 700 new species of wildlife ranging from bats to fishes, Times of India reported.The discovery has left biologists and researchers astonished as this is the first time such an array of wildlife has been discovered in the Cambodian mangroves situated near the Koh Kapik Ramsar reserve.

The mangrove forest is home to hundreds of species of bats, birds, fishes and insects, which are under threat of extinction.One of the most important discovery made is the fishing cat, Prionailurus viverrinus. Unlike other cats, these fishing cats are expert swimmers, and are the size of an average cat with short legs. They have partially webbed front paws ideal for catching fish and rodents.Other prominent residents include hairy-nosed otters, smooth-coated otters, large-spotted civet, long-tailed macaques and various bat species.Lead researcher, Stefanie Rog said, “We discovered 700 distinct species in these mangrove forests, but we believe we have barely begun to explore the biodiversity.”The survey also revealed mangroves to be important breeding grounds for fish such as barracudas and groupers, which are vital for local sustenance and commercial fishing.The mangroves also help protect the area from tsunamis by acting as a barrier. The study also found 74 fish species and 150 bird species within the mangrove waters. Among these, 15 are classified as near-threatened or endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

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