By Jochen Ackermann
The Greater Mekong region's majestic and mysterious wild ungulates - animals with hooves - many of whom are unique to the region are on the edge of disappearing unless regional governments boost protection and intensify efforts to restore their numbers and their habitats, according to a new WWF report, Rumble in the Jungle.
The 13 ungulates of concern profiled in the report vary in species and status: from dog-sized deer to culturally significant wild cattle; from large antlered species to others so seldom seen that they have taken on mythical status. What is known, is that their futures are uncertain and for some it is already too late.
2 species extinct in 20th century
Two species endemic to the Greater Mekong region, the kouprey and Schomburgk's deer, became globally extinct in the 20th century, while the hog deer and saola are on the edge of disappearing from the region and a number of other species face a similar fate in countries they once inhabited, including Eld's deer and banteng.
4 species discovered in the last 20 years
"The extraordinary variation in habitats in the Mekong region has resulted in the greatest diversity of hooved animals on earth. Four new species have been discovered in the last 20 years which is unparalleled," said Dr. Thomas Gray, Manager of WWF-Greater Mekong's Species Programme. "While human pressures, such as hunting and habitat destruction, are fast eroding populations of these extraordinary species, there is still time to save them if governments put biodiversity, and its protection, at the heart of decision-making." More....