Wildlife in the Mekong Basin
According to WWF the Mekong Basin lies largely undiscovered and the endemic species diversity begs scientific documentation. "Since 1997, more than 2,216 new species were discovered in the Greater Mekong subregion, with 139 new species identified in 2014 alone, including a color-changing frog, a zombie-making "dementor" wasp, and the second-longest insect in the world" according to the WWF website http://greatermekong.panda.org/discovering_the_greater_mekong/species/.The region is home to numerous endangered species, including the Indochinese tiger, the Asian elephant, the Irrawaddy dolphin, and the Mekong giant catfish. In particular, the Greater Mekong region is rich in endemic species, including the saola, one of the world’s rarest mammals.In the Greater Mekong region, only 350 Indochinese tigers remain, down from 1200 in 1998, and many remnant populations are small and isolated. http://greatermekong.panda.org/our_solutions/species/tigers_in_the_greater_mekong_region/
The proposed dams will severely impact unique and endemic aquatic fauna like the Mekong Cat Fish and Irrawaddy Dolphins. Poaching, war, drug menace had taken a severe toll on the safety of big cats like tigers, and Clouded leopard in Laos and Cambodia. Only after these two countries were listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites did conditions start improving. Today Laos has around 30 Protected Areas including National Parks and Conservation Areas which draw big tourist numbers. Bordering on the geological micro plate of Wallacea Laos too hosts many an endangered species including Saola or Mondulkiri - an oryx like mammal of the micro plate, found in Northern Laos and Central Vietnam.
Butterflies, bees, wasps, skinks, geckos, pythons, Reticulated Pythons, pit vipers, occur in manifold diversity in Laos although very few crocodiles are left in Laos.
Reticulated Python One horned rhino
The fish diversity of the Mekong River is legion.
Fresh water terrapins thrive in the Mekong Basin
Just one of the venomous snakes in Laos
The Asian Pygmy Elephant
Wildlife of Greater Mekong - Panda.org
Threat to Tigers in the Mekong Basin
Wildlife in Laos
Photo credits: Pixabay, WWF, Panda.org, Malini Shankar, IUCN. JJ Harrison (CCSA 3.0) Shan 2797 (CCSA 4.0)
Text, Malini Shankar, Digital Discourse Foundation