A team of scientists have come across an entire ecosystem filled with endangered species, including some which were previously thought to be extinct.
The discovery was made in a ‘lost city’ hidden in a rainforest in Honduras, after a conservation team spent three weeks exploring the ancient settlement.
Known as the ‘Lost City of the Monkey God’ or ‘White City,’ the place – which was deep within the Mosquitia rainforest – was home to an exotic selection of wildlife.
Along with hundreds of species of butterflies, bats and reptiles, scientists also found three species which were thought to be extinct: the pale-faced bat, the false tree coral snake, and a tiger beetle.
As reported by The Independent, the director of Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Programme (RAP), Trond Larsen, said they were ‘shocked’ with their discovery.
The ‘White City’ is one of the few areas remaining in Central America where ecological and evolutionary processes remain intact.
Even more surprising than the discovery of thought-to-be extinct species was the discovery of species that had never been recorded in Honduras before – such as the endangered Great Green Macaw, and a livebearing fish that researchers believe is new to science.
As reported by CNN Travel, the government of Honduras commissioned the extensive survey of the area’s biodiversity because they wanted to know what wildlife was living in this region.
In total, scientists discovered 246 species of butterflies and moths, 57 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 30 species of bats.
Explorers have searched for decades to find the ‘Lost City’; due to the lack of infrastructure in the region, scientists had to be flown in by helicopter. They also had to be guarded by armed soldiers to protect them from drug traffickers and predators in the area.
Larsen said the area was a high priority for conservation due to its large diversity of 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.
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.
Larsen went on to describe the team’s finds as ‘extra-exciting,’ while also referring to the Lost City as ‘truly special’.
What an incredible find.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).