Rivers around the world

The Rio Grande, Luangwa and Mekong Rivers

Each river is unique. What makes a river special depends entirely on its influences: its people, landscape and purpose. The mighty Mekong feeds millions. The sinuous Luangwa winds its way around iconic African wildlife. The Rio Grande quenches the thirst of an arid desert. Read on to learn more about these inspiring rivers and the breadth of life they support—the life that makes them unique.

Rio Grande River

Mexico, United States
North America

Running 1,890 miles from its snow-fed headwaters in the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande, known as the Rio Bravo in Mexico, is the third-longest river in the continental US. But it’s also one of America’s most endangered rivers: Droughts, more than 30 large dams, and ever-increasing water diversions for agriculture and cities have left long stretches of the river dry in recent years. And in 2001 the river failed to reach the Gulf of Mexico for the first time ever.

Luangwa River


The wild Luangwa is an incredibly dynamic river that fluctuates with the seasons within its wide riverbed.

In the rainy season, flooding yields lush, emerald vegetation, while in the dry season, receding waters and shifting sediment shape the extensive, muddy riverbanks where an abundance of  wild species, including elephants, lions, crocodiles, cranes, and the world’s largest concentration of hippos, congregate to eat, drink, and graze.

Mekong River

Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

Few rivers are as culturally and economically important as the Mekong. Winding through six countries, from the Himalayas to the South China Sea, the river is home to an astounding array of biodiversity—including giant Mekong catfish, giant freshwater stingray, and Irrawaddy dolphins—second only to the Amazon. The Mekong also supports the world’s largest inland fishery, which accounts for 25% of global freshwater catch and provides food and livelihoods for at least 60 million people.

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World Wildlife magazine provides an inspiring, in-depth look at the connections between animals, people and our planet. Published quarterly by WWF, the magazine helps make you a part of our efforts to solve some of the most pressing issues facing the natural world.

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