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The Greater Mekong

A region teeming with life

© © WWF-Greater Mekong / Wayuphong Jitvijak

A Delicate Balancing Act

Tigers, elephants, giant stingrays, along with thousands of other lesser known but equally threatened species form a complex web of life in the Greater Mekong's ecosystems. 

With booming economies, the countries of the region must now balance legitimate needs for development while safeguarding a natural treasure that is under growing threat. 

This is why WWF takes a comprehensive approach to seek this balance in the region.

New Species Discoveries

In 2016, 115 new species were discovered in the Greater Mekong region.

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What is the Greater Mekong?

The Greater Mekong region spans Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern province of Yunnan in China. The landscapes of this vast area are just as diverse as the countries that it enshrines, from dusty savannahs to dense rainforests, and from slow-moving rivers to icy torrents.

Between 1997 and 2014, over 2,200 new species have been described by science in the jungles, rivers and even urban areas of the Greater Mekong. This is in addition to rare species including crested gibbons, tigers, Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins and the elusive saola, described as the most remarkable large mammal discovery of the last 70 years.

The Greater Mekong also contains the largest combined tiger habitat in the world—540,000 km2 or roughly the size of France. But over the last 10 years or so, numbers of this amazing feline have crashed by 70% in this part of the world.

► About the Greater Mekong region
► WWF's conservation work in the Greater Mekong

A close human connection

Few places on Earth show such a strong link between human and ecosystem connectivity, as the Greater Mekong. The Mekong River basin accounts for up to 25% of the global freshwater catch, making it the world's largest inland fishery. It is a vital source of food and income for the basin's over 70 million people.

Protecting the Greater Mekong

The unprecedented social and economic development of the Greater Mekong makes conservation work here especially urgent, significant—and hugely challenging.

We are spearheading efforts to protect species, encouraging sustainable forestry and non-timber-forest product management, helping communities and governments with climate change adaptation, and promoting the sustainable use of freshwater resources. 

With offices in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, the WWF Greater Mekong programme is working with government, industry and NGO partners to secure a future where people's daily actions support biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources—the foundation upon which depends the Greater Mekong region's quality of life for humans.

Latest News

WWF-Cambodia congratulates government on the designation of Sambo and Prasob as Wildlife Sanctuaries

WWF-Cambodia applauds the Cambodian Government’s decision to establish two new protected areas totalling more than 62,000 hectares in Kratie Province ...

23 Oct 2018 Read more »

Game-changing ivory ban takes effect but further efforts needed to ensure long-term gains

New research released today by WWF and TRAFFIC reveal that China’s elephant ivory trade ban has had significantly positive effects since coming into ...

27 Sep 2018 Read more »

RAFT Celebrates its Achievements in Promoting Sustainable Forest Management and Responsible Timber Trade in Vietnam

An acacia forest area of 1,916.25 hectares managed by Bao Chau Company, has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for its ...

04 Sep 2018 Read more »

Laos Closes Down Illegal Wildlife Trade Shops at Don Sao Market in the Golden Triangle

Lao Government law enforcement officers have shut down illegal wildlife trade in four shops at Don Sao Market in the notorious Golden Triangle, ...

01 Aug 2018 Read more »

100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Greater Mekong Power Sector Vision: All 5 countries in the Greater Mekong can get to 100% renewable energy by 2050, shows new reports.
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Facts and Figures