An entire ecosystem has been discovered by a team of scientists and once thought to be extinct, an entire host of rare and endangered species inhabit this “lost city” in Honduras.
Known as the “Lost City of the Monkey God” or “White City”, a 3 week expedition saw the conservation team exploring the Mosquitia rainforest. Hundreds of species of bats, reptiles and butterflies were discovered along with many others.
The Pale-Faced bat, False Tree Coral Snake and a tiger beetle – the only of it’s kind ever recorded in Nicaragua and believed to be completely extinct were all discovered, living peacefully in the region.
Director of Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Programme (RAP), Trond Larsen displayed his shock in the discovery, quoting that “the ‘White City’ is one of the few areas remaining in Central America where ecological and evolutionary processes remain intact.”
RAP additionally discovered 22 species, never before recorded in Honduras. They included the Great Green Macaw and a livebearing fish which is completely new to science.
A total of 246 species of moth and butterflies, 30 species of bats and 57 amphibians and reptiles were uncovered by scientists, with Mr. Larsen stating that the area was of a high priority of conservation due to its diverse wildlife.
“One of the main reasons we found such high species richness and abundance of threatened and wide-ranging species (e.g., peccaries) is that the forests around the White City remain pristine, unlike much of the region,” he said.
“This makes the area a high conservation priority for maintaining the broader landscape connectivity that is essential for the long-term persistence of biodiversity through Central America.”
The “White City” has eluded explorers for decades, thought to be the home of an ancient pre-Colombian civilization and due to its lack of infrastructure, scientists had to be escorted in and out by guards to avoid predators and drug traffickers.
The biggest threat to the region is deforestation and cattle ranching, despite the Honduras being deemed a protected site since 2015.
Dr. John Polisar, a RAP member has made a plea for stronger protection of the area.
“We have been doing field work in the indigenous territories of La Moskitia for 14 years, and this site stood out as being simply gorgeous,” he said.
“Because of its presently intact forests and fauna the area is of exceptionally high conservation value. It merits energetic and vigilant protection so its beauty and wildlife persist into the future.”
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