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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

Lao Prime Minister’s Order Gives New Hope for Wildlife

The new Order by Laos’ Prime Minister on the management and inspection of prohibited wild fauna and flora is a significant step forward in the fight ...

04 Jun 2018 Read more »

First record of large-antlered muntjac in Quang Nam, Vietnam, in the wild provides new hope for the survival of this species

Scientists and conservationists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and WWF-Vietnam captured photographs of one of ...

23 May 2018 Read more »

Avery Dennison launches Southeast Asia forestry project in Vietnam

The Avery Dennison Foundation, the global philanthropic arm of Avery Dennison Corporation, has partnered with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to ...

05 May 2018 Read more »

Hope for Critically Endangered Mekong River Dolphins as Population Increases for First Time

After decades of seemingly irreversible decline, results from a WWF and Government of Cambodia census released today show that the population of ...

23 Apr 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