From: Associated Press
Published April 13, 2006 12:00 AM

New Species of Stingray Discovered in Thai river

BANGKOK, Thailand — A new species of freshwater stingray has been discovered in a river in western Thailand, but its chances for long-term survival are slim, a report said Wednesday.

The stingray, measuring 60 centimeters (23.6 inches) in width, was first observed two years ago but was only recently described by Thai and American scientists, said a release from the World Wide Fund for Nature-Thailand.

"Local participatory conservation is urgently needed for the survival of this new stingray," the release said.

Thai rivers, including the Mae Klong River where the ray is found, have been plagued by serious pollution, overfishing and dam building which have taken a deadly toll on Thailand's once diverse and abundant river life. The ray is believed to exist in small numbers.

The new species has been named Himantura kittipong after prominent Thai fish expert Kittipong Jaruthanin who first observed the ray in 2004. WWF freshwater biologist Chavalit Vidthayanon and Tyson Roberts of the Smithsonian Institute described the species.

Source: Associated Press

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