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Several new species found in Indonesia

  |   May 17, 2010 at 10:00 AM
ARLINGTON, Va., May 17 (UPI) -- Conservation International says an expedition to an Indonesian area often called "The Lost World" has resulted in the discovery of several new species.

The "stunning diversity of spectacular species" was announced Monday as part of activities marking next Saturday's observance of the 2010 International Day for Biological Diversity.

The conservation organization said the newly discovered species include several mammals, a reptile, an amphibian, at least 12 insects and a new bird, all found in Indonesia's remote Foja Mountains on the island of New Guinea in late 2008.

Officials said the discoveries include a bizarre spike-nosed tree frog; an oversized, but notably tame, woolly rat; a gargoyle-like, bent-toed gecko with yellow eyes; an imperial pigeon; and a tiny forest wallaby -- the smallest member of the kangaroo family documented in the world.

The Foja Mountains encompass more than 1.8 million square acres (300,000 square hectares) of unroaded, undeveloped and undisturbed rain forest. The health and biodiversity of the wilderness provide a critical carbon sink for the planet, as well as vital ecosystem services to a series of forest-dwelling peoples who depend on its resources, Conservation International said.

A special feature on the expedition, which received financial and scientific support from the National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution and Indonesian Institute of Sciences, appears in the June issue of National Geographic magazine.

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