The Mekong is one of the world’s longest and largest rivers, running for more than 4000 kilometres from the eastern Himalayas in Tibet through Yunnan in southern China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and southern Vietnam, where it meets the South China Sea at the Mekong Delta.
Travellers, traders, warlords and pirates have used the river as an inland route through Southeast Asia for thousands of years. Parts of the Mekong joined the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Vietnam War – today, bandits in speedboats and smugglers of drugs, wildlife, weapons and people haunt its furthest reaches, and the river is growing in importance as a route for trade and tourism.
Much of the Mekong region is wild and remote, yet more than 60 million people live along the the river and its branches. The rich ecosystems, fisheries, exotic plants and rare animals of the Mekong region – including tigers, elephants, gibbons, crocodiles, giant catfish, and freshwater dolphins – are threatened by human activities such as hydroelectric dams, irrigation projects, fishing, hunting, mining, and logging.
Mekong Report is a newslog for the Mekong River region, focusing on the environment and wildlife, science and energy, culture and history. It is curated from the news sources credited (and, occasionally, written and photographed) by Tom Metcalfe.