August 9, 2007

Six New Animal Species Found in Congo

Six previous unknown animal species, including a new species of bat, were found during an expedition to the Democratic Republic of Congo this year.

A Wildlife Conservation Society expedition found the six new species in a region of the African country that had not been explored by researchers in 47 years due to civil unrest, the BBC reported Wednesday.

The discovery of the new bat species, along with a new rat species and two species of frogs and shrews, has researchers pondering what other mysteries the region near Lake Tanganyika could hold.

If we can find six new species in such a short period it makes you wonder what else is out there, WCS researcher Dr Andrew Plumptre said. The block of forest has probably been isolated from the rest of the Congo forest block for about 10,000 years.

Several plant species also may have been discovered during the expedition, the BBC reported, making the region biologically important from a conservation point of view.