Creative Destruction of Species in Vietnam

Vietnam’s ecology is like its economy:  Species come and species go.  Just when it seemed all was being lost environmentally in Vietnam with the extinction of a rhino  and impending doom of elephants, two new fauna forms have been discovered: Helen’s Flying Frog  and a blue lizard named calotes bachae.

Helen’s Flying Frog

AFP Post reports Australian amphibian expert Jodi Rowley discovered the new species of flying frog near Ho Chi Minh City and named it after her mother.

The species, four inches long , was found in the low-lying evergreen forest surrounded by rice paddies 50 miles from Ho Chi Minh City, one of the biggest cities in Southeast Asia.  Researchers are working to establish whether Helen’s frog is endangered.

Calotes bachae lizard

Calotes bachae lizard

Meanwhile, National Geographic reports genetic analysis confirms Calotes bachae is a new species even though it looks identical to another blue-headed lizard in Southeast Asia.  The lizard is cobalt blue to attract females and intimidate other males and was found in two national parks and in a downtown park in Ho Chi Minh City.

The discoveries  are encouraging to environmentalists who have been concerned about habitat loss in lowland forests that led to extinction of the Javan rhinoceros, which officially ceased to exist in 2011.

In a sense, the ecological story in the parks and forests of Vietnam is similar to the pattern of Vietnam’s economy, which has been experiencing a resurgence of business activity amid an epidemic of bankruptcies.  Nature and capitalism offer different versions of creative destruction.


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