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Braving perilous river rapids in Suriname's rainforest, international scientists found six frogs and 11 fish that are among 60 creatures that may be new species, a tropical ecologist with a U.S.-based conservation group said Thursday -reported AP.
Trond Larsen, with the nonprofit research and advocacy organization Conservation International, said in a phone interview that the team catalogued creatures and studied freshwater resources during a three-week expedition in pristine forest of southeast Suriname near the border with Brazil.
The upper Palumeu River watershed is among the world's most remote and unexplored rainforests, the Arlington, Virginia-based group said. It has worked for years in Suriname, a sparsely populated country of 63,000 square miles (162, 265 square kilometers) on the north shoulder of South America.
The creatures that could be new to science include a brown tree frog dubbed the "cocoa frog" and a type of poison dart frog, which secretes powerful toxins employed by local people for hunting.
Suriname, a Dutch colony until the 1970s, has made great efforts to protect its rainforests. In 1998, the government created the roughly 4 million-acre (1.6 million-hectare) Central Suriname Nature Reserve, setting aside some 10 percent of the country.
But thousands of illegal miners, many of them Brazilian, have also long worked throughout the interior, contaminating rivers in some areas with mercury used to separate gold from ore.