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A region teeming with life

The Greater Mekong

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.

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
Poorly Implemented Policies Allow Rampant Forest Loss to Continue in Greater Mekong
16 May 2019

Dramatic forest degradation and loss in the Greater Mekong region have both their causes and potential solutions rooted in forest governance, ...

Renewable energy can achieve global climate and energy goals without damming the world’s remaining free flowing  rivers, says report
13 May 2019

With thousands of hydropower dams planned across the globe, including here in the Greater Mekong region, a new report from WWF and The Nature ...

New Study in Nature: Just One-Third of the World’s Longest Rivers Remain Free-Flowing
09 May 2019

First ever global assessment of the location and extent of the planet’s remaining free-flowing rivers highlights severe degradation, and offers a ...

Eld's deer, Cambodia
23 Oct 2018

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

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.
► Learn more