By Katherine Sather/ The Nature Conservancy
It’s known as the “Mother of Water.”
As the 12th longest river in the world, the mighty Mekong River indeed nourishes many. It supports the largest freshwater fish harvest in the world, providing the primary source of protein to more than 50 million people as it runs its course through six countries, including Laos, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The river’s creatures sound like the stuff of fantasy novels – freshwater dolphins, giant stingrays (as big as your living room!) and 400-pound catfish. But they’re real, and they face an uncertain future.
Nature Conservancy scientist Jeff Opperman and his family recently embarked on a 1,500-mile journey along this incredible river. With Jeff are his wife and two children, including 10-year-old Luca and 8-year-old Wren.
“We want the kids to experience a place where people are directly connected to the river, in terms of their livelihood and culture,” says Jeff.