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The wildlife discovered by scientists in the fragile eastern Himalayas includes a blue "walking snakehead fish" (above) which can breathe air, survive on land for four days and slither up to 400m on wet ground.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

New Delhi -- A monkey that sneezes when it rains and a "walking" fish are among more than 200 species discovered in the fragile eastern Himalayas in recent years, according to conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Tibet has the most abundant water resources in China, reaching 439.4 billion cubic metres, 60 times the country's per capita level. Photo: Reuters

Chinese authorities in Beijing claim that they will set up a natural drinking water industry in Tibet at a cost of more than USD 6 billion in the next three to five to tap the Himalayan region's high- quality and abundant fresh water resources.

An aerial view depicting the denuded hillsides along a river in Kham. This type of uncontrolled timber harvest leads to devastating landslides and floods. [John Ackerly]

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will we realize that money cannot be eaten." Cree Indian Prophecy.

An example of damage caused by reckless clearcutting of Tibetan forests. It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of Tibet's forests have been cut down, with little or no attempt to restore the devastated land. Consequences include extensive erosion, flooding, and the silting of many Asian rivers that arise in Tibet (Kham). [John Ackerly]

Present Deforestation
In Tibet, as in most places in the world, processes which used to take millennia or centuries can now occur within decades or even years. Deforestation is a common phenomenon throughout China, and many other forest areas such as in Heilongjiang in the north-east are now being depleted in a similarly tragic way (Smil 1983: 227).

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