Only a little more than one-third of the world’s 246 longest rivers remain free-flowing, drastically reducing the diverse benefits that healthy rivers provide to people and nature everywhere, according to a new study by WWF and partners.
Many people may not know that access to fresh water around the globe can have big impacts here in the US. This week, WWF released a new book entitled Water, Security and U.S. Foreign Policy, exploring how access to water affects US national security and prosperity and how the US can respond effectively. We sat down with two WWF experts to provide some background on this link between fresh water and national security.
While development undeniably brought about positive changes to those living along the Mekong, increased demand for water and economic growth are also leading to unsustainable infrastructure decisions. Compounded by climate change, these decisions threaten the river and all who depend on it.
Dams play a critical role in water resource management and electricity generation and, generally, they have a huge impact on freshwater biodiversity and sometimes on local communities. Surely it’s time for a consolidated research effort to provide big data on dams.
Information is power— at least according to conventional wisdom. But what if we lack access to reliable and scientifically sound information? WWF and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) have teamed up to create river basin report cards—very simple documents that demystify complex scientific information about river systems and take into account what different people value in any given basin.
Participants of the weeklong workshop, which was hosted by WWF and the Natural Capital Project, learned how to map out Mozambique’s natural resources, why the resources are important, how to build them into decisions about infrastructure and development, and more.
WWF conservation experts were thrilled to spot an mother Irrawaddy dolphin with her newly born baby on the banks of the Mekong River in Cambodia. Just last month, the dolphin family was found in Kampi pool, which is home to around 20 of the last remaining 80 Irrawaddy river dolphins in Cambodia. The river dolphins are beloved icons in Cambodia and females give birth only every two to three years, so any birth creates a sensation.
The king of India’s Himalayan rivers is the mighty mahseer. The mahseer are not just pretty; they're important too. The mahseer is a flagship species for India. A flagship species is a species selected to act as an ambassador, icon or symbol for a defined habitat, issue, campaign or environmental cause. Today, five of India’s mahseer species are listed as “endangered” and two as “near threatened” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Fishers have been noticing dramatic changes to the Orinoco River, and the daredevil fish in particular. In short, they're harder to find and no longer travel as far upstream. In an effort to save Colombia’s migratory fish, WWF-Colombia, the National Authority for Aquaculture and Fisheries (AUNAP), and other partners are focused on promoting more sustainable fishing practices throughout the supply chain. And, with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), WWF is trying to shed more light on the health of rivers and their vast biodiversity through projects like the basin report card.
Species like red pandas, Bengal tigers, blue sheep, Argali wild sheep, and ibex are found in Asia high mountains. Learn more about the Asia high mountains and the work that WWF is doing to protect them.
Since 2011, photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz has travelled to eight countries capturing images for his long-term photographic project highlighting the global water crisis. Collectively, the photographs chart the diverse and far reaching effects of urbanization, poor sanitation, pollution, water scarcity, and the side effects of expanding industry and population.
More than a billion people make a living from wetlands across the world. Wetlands provide livelihoods, from fishing and eco-tourism, to farming and drinking water for communities. WWF is working to support some of the world’s most vital wetlands and the communities that depend on them across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
A healthy population of the critically endangered finless porpoises now lives in a safer part of the Yangtze River, thanks to dedicated efforts by WWF and our partners. Four adult porpoises—two male and two female—were carefully selected from a sample of 59 animals captured by a team of experts using specially designed nets from Tian-e-zhou National Oxbow Reserve.
WWF’s river basin report card could help protect the Orinoco for a future rich in green tourism. The report card will help everyone interested in the area—from ecotourism operators like Alejandro to industrial pioneers, to the public officials charged with managing the region—understand the current state of the Orinoco and how a healthy river is important to all.
Every so often, it’s important to pause, take a step back, and celebrate the progress we’ve made together in conserving the world’s wildlife and beautiful places. And this year gave us much to applaud. Though our conservation challenges persist and there’s still much work to be done, we all need take a moment to appreciate just how far we’ve come by working in tandem to protect the planet we love.
The Orinoco is one of the longest rivers in South America. The river and its surrounding forests teem with wildlife: the Orinoco crocodile, river dolphins, colorful parrots, the giant anaconda. But the river basin is also under threat from human development.