Amazon Expedition Discovers Dozens of New Animals

Amazon Expedition Discovers Dozens of New Animals
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This unusual snake is not new to science, but it's an important harbinger of environmental health, according to scientists who found it in Suriname in 2005.

The Amazonian snail-eater depends on closed-canopy rain forest for its diet of snails, which the snake can extract from their shells using its slender jaw.

The snail-eater, like the more than 450 other animals that the scientists documented in their expedition, is susceptible to disruptions that human activity causes in the rain forest.

When reporting their findings in a statement yesterday, the researchers called for improved management of the region to deal with the threats posed by hunting and illegal mining.

"Strategies [for future conservation] should focus on protecting freshwater streams and preventing fragmentation of the natural habitat from unchecked or poorly planned development," they said.

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—Photograph by James I. Watling, courtesy Conservation International
 
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