National Geographic

Hunting for particles of gold in the jungles of Southeast Asia

Walking across the world, you encounter human beings engaged in various repetitive behaviors. Raising babies. Fixing machines. Boiling tea. Planting crops. Posting videos on TikTok. Looking for gold. Our species’ pervasive quest for gold is ancient and tireless. Along my 11,000-mile trail out of Africa, I have ...

PAUL SALOPEK

New monkey species found hiding in plain sight

FOR MORE THAN a century, scientists considered banded langurs, a type of reclusive, tree-dwelling monkey, to be a single species—but new research points to three separate ones. They’ve been hiding in plain sight, due to differences that couldn’t be readily observed. Found throughout Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, ...

RACHEL NUWER

Southeast Asia’s most critical river is entering uncharted waters

For months now, a single, rare Irrawaddy river dolphin, apparently entangled in a fishing net and disoriented, has been spotted in Southeast Asia’s struggling Mekong River, far from its normal habitat in northern Cambodia. Conservationists are scrambling to come up with a plan to help the ...

Stefan Lovgren

Earth’s largest freshwater creatures at risk of extinction

Some have survived for hundreds of millions of years, but many of the world’s freshwater megafauna—including sumo-sized stingrays, colossal catfish, giant turtles, and gargantuan salamanders—may soon find themselves on the brink of extinction, according to a new study published. For the first time, researchers have quantified the ...

Stefan Lovgren

Mekong River at its lowest in 100 years, threatening food supply

A severe drought that has caused water levels in Southeast Asia’s Mekong River to drop to their lowest in more than 100 years could have devastating consequences for fish, as well as the tens of millions of people living and working along the river, experts warn. The ...

Stefan Lovgren

First global look finds most rivers awash with antibiotics

EACH YEAR, HUMANS produce, prescribe, and ingest more antibiotics than they did the year before. Those drugs have done wonders for public health, saving millions from infections that might otherwise have killed them. But the drugs’ influence persists in the environment long after they’ve done their duty ...

Alejandra Borunda

Endangered River Dolphin Species' Numbers on the Rise

It’s 5:30 p.m., and several tourist boats linger in the middle of the Mekong River. A blood-orange sun casts a warm glow across the milky brown water, making it the ideal time to photograph the rare Irrawaddy river dolphins that congregate in deep, swirling pools. ...

Stefan Lovgren

Cambodia's Endangered River Dolphins at Highest Population in 20 Years

For decades, Cambodia’s Mekong River population of Irrawaddy dolphins has verged on extinction. Once believed to have numbered in the thousands, the population began to plummet in the 1970s. During the violent reign of the Khmer Rouge and the years of war that followed, the dolphins were ...

Stefan Lovgren

Southeast Asia May Be Building Too Many Dams Too Fast

The disaster has brought into focus the ambitious agenda of Laos, one of the region’s poorest countries, to turn itself into “the battery of Southeast Asia” by building dozens of hydroelectric dams on the Mekong River and its tributaries and selling power to neighboring countries. ...

Exclusive: Illegal Tiger Trade Fed by ‘Tiger Farms,’ New Evidence Reveals

A shocking video and new intelligence suggest that legal and illegal captive tiger facilities fuel Asia’s tiger trafficking—with brutal efficiency. Keep reading ...

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