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17 New Species Found In Threatened Forests Of Tanzania

January 5, 2009

Scientists have reported the discovery of 17 new species of reptiles and amphibians in the rainforests of eastern Tanzania.

Researchers from Italy and Tanzania discovered the new species, which in include chameleons, tree frogs and snakes, in the region which is under the constant threat of danger from fire and logging.

Michele Menegon of the Natural Science Museum of Trento in Italy and colleagues said the findings underscore the need for protection in the region from outside risks.

The government and villagers have outlined a series of steps needed to improve conservation, such as reducing the population’s dependence on unsustainable methods of growing cardamoms, a popular cooking spice and an important cash crop for highland farmers, according to Reuters.

“The program represents an opportunity to reverse the current trend of forest loss and degradation,” researchers wrote in the journal Acta Herpetologica.

“To succeed, the program will need sustained commitment from the government of Tanzania, civil society organizations, the local communities and development partners.”

Image Courtesy NASA

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