In the Mekong,
freshwater stringray can weigh in at 600kgs (1,320lbs) and the elusive giant catfish grows up to 350kgs (772lbs), 3 metres (9.9 feet) long.
On the Mekong, China has already completed four hydro-power dams, while another 11 are being built or planned in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. Other smaller dams are proposed along its tributaries. Entire populations of the catfish would collapse if blocked from their spawning grounds in Laos and northern Thailand.
The WWF is urging a veto of the plans.
Who knew such giants lived in the quiet Mekong.
Not me, which leaves me impressed again with its quiet mystique. It carves down the length of Laos. Lands there do not have the soaring majesty of the Amazon or the epic beauty of Baikal.
When we first went, we were told, warned almost, that Laos PDR really means Laos Please Don’t Rush.
And it was; life there flows languid. There is none of the Thai buzz, and the people gentler than their hardier neighbours to the east; its jewels are hidden secrets. And i’m looking forward to seeing the Mekong again.