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'Extinct' Creatures Found Alive By Expedition To 'Lost City Of The Monkey God'

A research trip to the untouched heart of the Honduran jungle has found species thriving which scientists previously thought extinct.

The area, known as the "Lost City of the Monkey God" or "White City", is a loose structure of ruins in the Mosquitia rainforest, a patch of 865,000 acres unexplored by Western scientists.

Phylloderma stenops, which hasn't been reported in Honduras for over 75 years. Source: Conservation International.

The region first came to the attention of researchers in 2012, when the ruins of an ancient city were discovered.

The ruins are thought to be from an ancient Mayan civilisation, built around 1000 AD.

An expedition was launched by Conservation International in 2017 to survey the area and conduct a rapid assessment of the jungle's biological diversity.

The area is so remote that team members could only access it by helicopter.

False tree coral snake, discovered on the expedition, was believed to be extinct in Honduras since 1965. Source: Conservation International.

The conservation scientists found a number of rare species proliferating in the region because of its relatively undisturbed ecosystem.

These included a coral snake which hasn't been seen in northern Central America since 1965,  a new species of fish, a bat not seen in the country for 75 years, and two species of near-extinct palm trees.

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The team also discovered a Tiger Beetle which was thought to be extinct, and had not been seen in Honduras before.

Besides these rare species, the area also held cats threatened by hunting and habitat loss in other areas of Mesoamercia, including jaguars, ocelots, pumas and a small native cat known as a margay.

Source: Conservation International.

The area of rainforest is at risk of rapidly decreasing, due to deforestation and illegal cattle ranching in Honduras.

The report recommended personnel be specifically trained to patrol and protect the area from these threats.