Discovery of the 15th terrestrial vertebrate within one decade

Date: 2010/05/03


Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam


Cyrtodactylus roesleri"The discovery of new species is proof about how little we know about disappearing nature but it is also an incentive to do more for the protection of biodiversity. Zoos worldwide provide a valuable contribution towards this goal as we can see from this example." says Dr. Gerald Dick, Executive Director of the World Association or Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).


Global Biodiversity, i.e. diversity of species and their habitats, is endangered.  The United Nations have therefore declared 2010 to be the International Year  of Biodiversity. This was done to allude to the importance of the preservation   of biodiversity for our planet and for our survival. Zoos and Aquariums also have an important function towards preserving this biodiversity. They not only bring visitors closer to the diversity of species, they also dedicate themselves to protecting biodiversity. For example, by breeding endangered species or in the framework of a nature conservation project in the natural habitat of the species (i.e. in situ conservation).


One of these in situ conservation projects is the Vietnam Project of the Cologne Zoo. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) supports the conservation and preservation oriented biodiversity studies of the Cologne Zoo in Vietnam and certified the project as particularly worthwhile.


One can only protect what one knows!


How little we know about tropical rain forest biodiversity is magnified by the discovery by researchers from Cologne in cooperation with their international colleagues. In the last ten years, they have discovered 14 new terrestrial vertebrates (amphibians and reptiles,) and all have been found in the forests of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. The 15th, new species found was named Roesler's Bowfinger Gecko (Cyrtodactylus roesleri).


In cooperation with Vietnamese partners from the National University in Hanoi, the People's Committee of the Province of Quang Binh and the central Vietnamese National Park Phong Nha – Ke Bang, the Zoo Cologne has dedicated itself to the preservation of the National Park and its´ unique biodiversity for the past ten years. 


For further information or images contact:


Assistant Professor: Dr. Thomas Ziegler

Curator Aquarium and Coordinator of Biodiversity and Nature projects in Vietnam AG Zoologischer Garten Köln, Riehler Str. 173, 50735 Cologne, Germany, Cell phone: +4917615570730, e-mail:




Thomas Ziegler, Roman Nazarov, Nikolai Orlov, Truong Quang Nguyen, Thanh Ngoc Vu, Kein Ngoc Dang, Tri Huy Dinh & Andreas Schmitz (2010): A third new Cyrtodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Truong Son Range, Vietnam. Zootaxa 2413: 20-36.


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