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'Elvis' monkey, psychedelic gecko found in SE Asia

This undated photo provided by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) shows a psychedelic gecko recently discovered in Hon Khoai island, Ca Mau province, in southern Vietnam. The gecko and a monkey with an "Elvis" hairdo are among 208 new species described last year by scientists in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia, a conservation group announced Monday, Dec. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/World Wide Fund for Nature, Lee Grismer)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- A psychedelic gecko and a monkey with an "Elvis" hairdo are among 208 new species described last year by scientists in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia, a conservation group announced Monday. The animals were discovered in a biodiverse region that is threatened by habitat loss, deforestation, climate change and overdevelopment, the WWF said in a report. The newly described species include a "psychedelic gecko" in southern Vietnam and a nose-less monkey in a remote province of Myanmar that looks like it wears a pompadour.

"While this species, sporting an Elvis-like hairstyle, is new to science, the local people of Myanmar know it well," the Switzerland-based group said in its report.

The region is home to some of the world's most endangered species, including tigers, Asian elephants, Mekong dolphins and Mekong giant catfish, the group said.

"This is a region of extraordinary richness in terms of biodiversity but also one that is extremely fragile," said Sarah Bladen, communications director for WWF Greater Mekong. "It's losing biodiversity at a tragic rate."

The Mekong flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

In October, WWF announced Vietnam has lost its last Javan rhinoceros, making the 40 to 60 Javan rhinos living in Indonesia the last remaining members of their species.



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