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Little shop of horrors

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A 7-Metre-tall carnivorous plant native to Kampot province was among 145 new plant and animal species officially documented last year in the Greater Mekong region, according to a report to be released by the World Wildlife Fund.

On average, three new species are recorded by scientists each week in the region, which includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China’s southern Yunnan province, the report states.
“This rate of discovery is simply staggering in modern times,” Stuart Chapman, conservation director of WWF Greater Mekong, said in a press release that accompanied the report.
“Each year, the new species count keeps going up, and with it, so too does the responsibility to ensure this region’s unique biodiversity is conserved,” he said.
Speaking by phone, he said knowledge about biodiversity in the Greater Mekong region was “on par with the rate of discovery in the Amazon”.
A total of three new plant species were discovered in Cambodia in 2009, the most impressive of which was found on Bokor mountain in Kampot and was described by Chapman as a “giant carnivorous pincher plant”.
The report states that the plant “produces pinchers that … alone can be up to 25 centimetres in length, and are used to trap ants and other insects, which are then broken down to provide nourishment to the plant”.

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