Researchers found more than 1,000 new species in New Guinea over the ten years from 1998 to 2008, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund. Previously unknown species — including an 8-foot river shark, a frog with fangs, and pink dolphin — were discovered at a rate of two a week. But New Guinea could lose half its forest to logging by 2020, and already some of these new species are so rare that they went onto the endangered list as soon as they were discovered.
The WWF report, which the organization put out to mark its 50th anniversary, details 518 new invertebrates, 218 plant, 134 amphibians, 71 fishes, 42 reptiles, 12 mammals, and two bird species that have been found in New Guinea over a 10-year span. More than 100 more have come to light since 2008. But it also warns of threats to New Guinea's rainforests, the third largest in the world. New Guinea lost a quarter of its forests to illegal logging between 1792 and 2002, and the next few years could be worse. The rate at which new species are coming out of the woodwork suggests that illegal logging in New Guinea could harm more species than we can even imagine.