Anyone concerned about the fate of planet Earth should be alarmed by the lighting-fast disappearance of various animal species during the past century. But not all the news is bad! Around the globe, scientists also continue discover a cornucopia of new animal species. Here are some of the most fascinating ones discovered since the dawn of the 21st century:
1. Annamite Striped Rabbit.
Scientists from the Wildlife Conversation Society (WCS) reported discovering this rabbit, in 2008. They found it in Laos’ extremely remote and craggy Annamite Mountains. The rabbit features black and brown stripes on its face and back. The Annamite Striped Rabbit is Earth’s only known striped rabbit that isn’t extinct.
2. Bornean Clouded Leopard.
Besides living in Borneo, this medium-sized big cat also lives in Sumatra and the Malay Archipelago. In March of 2008, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) named the mammal in March of 2007. The leopard’s name originates from its characteristic coat of asymmetrical ovals, which seem to resemble clouds. Interestingly, while scientists first learned about the leopard in the early 1800s, it officially became a unique species in 2006.
3. Camiguin Hanging Parrot.
The habitat of this colorful bird, indigenous to the island of Camiguin in the Philippines, is quickly vanishing. The bird is a rainbow of colors. Its body is mostly green, though it also has an orange bill, blue cheeks, a yellow streak on the back of its head and crown, and a red nape. In 2006, scientists declared that this species differed from the Philippine Hanging Parrot.
This vulnerable animal species is indigenous to Indonesia. An Australian named Dr. Tim Flannery first discovered it in 1987. In fact, the Dingiso one of four new tree kangaroo species that Dr. Flannery found in the region of New Guinea. However, among the four species, the scientist determined that the Dingiso was most unique both in its appearance and the noise it produced.
5. Ghost Slug.
This all-white slug has been discovered in gardens located in south Wales. Both Cardiff University and the National Museum of Wales have declared that the worm-eating Ghost Slug is indeed a unique slug species. Scientists have given the slug a partly Welsh name: Selenochlamys ysbryda (ghost slug). Interestingly, this variety of slug is actually more common in Georgia and Turkey. So scientists are baffled about how the slug relocated to the UK.
6. Pygmy Three-toed Sloth.
As its name suggests, one of the main features of this sloth is its three toes. This mammal lives on Isla Escudo deVeraguas, a small island off Panama’s shores. Scientists believe that the Pygmy Three-toed Sloth is the result of insular dwarfism. Through this process, the size of large animals decreases in a smaller habitat, such as an island. In fact, this sloth species is 20% smaller and 40% lighter than other sloths with three-toes.
While many species are disappearing from Earth, these are some of the new species that scientists have classified within the past decade. Hopefully they will continue to find new and exciting creatures, paying tribute to Earth’s diversity and resilience.