Also known as East Timor, the nation of Timor-Leste includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the islands of Atauro, Jaco, and the exclave of Oecusse. Located in a crossover zone between Asia and Australia, Timor-Leste contains animals common to both regions. The varied terrain of mountains, thousands of miles of coastline, dry forest, grasslands, and a tropical climate provide habitats that sustain many different species.
Timor Leste belongs to several different ecoregions. Part of the Timor and Wetar Deciduous Forests terrestrial ecoregion, there's only one dry forest left in the country, located in Nino Konis Santana National Park. The forest is home to many of the over 250 species of birds in the nation, at least 10% of them thought to be unique to Timor-Leste. Some of these birds face the threat of extinction, including the Yellow-crested Cockatoo, the Timor Sparrow, the Timor Imperial-pigeon, the Timor Green-pigeon, the Black Cukoo-dove, the Wetar Ground Dove, and the
East Timor is also located in the Lesser Sunda Islands freshwater ecoregion (FEOW), the Sunda Islands coral reef hotspot, and contains the Coral Triangle, what many consider the world's greatest diversity of coral reef fish and coral. This area is often called an epicenter of biodiversity, with some scientists theorizing that it's an origination point for several different species of coral fish that then located elsewhere. There's a high concentration of protected dolphins and whales in the region, and also supports 6 of the world's 7 marine turtle species.
The presence of Timor-Leste in the Wallacea biodiversity hotspot means that not only can it sustain a marsupial like the cuscus, but also
Not only do rare species such as the Timorese Horseshoe bat and the one-horned rhino Badak Jawa call Timor-Leste home, but previously undescribed species continue to be discovered in the area, such as the bent-toed gecko of the genus Cyrtodactylus.