Sunrise over the Mekong River. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.
The Mekong River, the world’s 10th largest, flows through six countries in East Asia: China, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
The river is currently imperiled by a series of dam projects including the massive Xayaburi Dam, planned to be built in Lao PDR to provide energy to Thailand. Popular protests against the demand have caused officials to put off the day of decision.
While upending the lives of many locals, the dam could lead to the extinction of dozens of species of fish, including the Critically Endangered Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas). A rare giant, specimens of the Mekong giant catfish have been caught weighing up to 600 pounds (270 kilograms). There are over 1,500 recorded fish species in the Mekong River.
For more on the Xayaburi dam: Opposition rises against Mekong dam as governments ponder decision
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