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IUCN Study Highlights Lack of Information on Eastern Himalaya Freshwater Ecosystems

13 January 2011: A recent study carried out by IUCN and Zoo Outreach Organisation, entitled "The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in the Eastern Himalaya," emphasized the need for extensive new research on freshwater species in the Eastern Himalaya region.

The study found that 31.3% of the 1,073 freshwater species of fishes, mollusks, dragonflies and damselflies are assessed as Data Deficient. Of those species for which information is available, 7.2% are classed as threatened and a further 5.4% are considered to be Near Threatened. At the same time, development of water resources in the region is expanding at a rapid rate, and lack of information to guide conservation and development planning puts freshwater ecosystems and species at risk, along with the livelihoods and economies of local communities which they support. The study highlights that, in order to significantly increase the level of information that is available to inform conservation planning, there is an urgent need for additional training in taxonomy and research methods for regional experts and increased funding to carry out species assessments. [IUCN Press Release][The Study]