The Salween river basin is more than twice the size of England, the 2nd largest river basin in southeast Asia and one of the last free-flowing international rivers in Asia.
Shared by China, Myanmar (formally Burma) and Thailand, 6 million people live in the Salween watershed and depend on the river for their livelihoods, dietary protein, and nutrient rich food particularly during the dry season.
The Salween flows from the Tibetan Plateau adjacent to the Mekong and the Yangtze, in the “Three Parallel Rivers” World Heritage area, at the epicentre of biodiversity in China.
In the upper Salween’s Nujiang Prefecture in China, 92% of the population consists of ethnic and religious minorities. Along the Thai and Myanmar border, there are over 13 ethnic groups living in traditional communities on the river’s banks.
Currently, there is ample water per person.
The Salween is home to 92 amphibian species, and 143 fish species of which 47 are found nowhere else in the world; 3 areas support endemic birds.
The Salween delta and associated wetlands support populations of the unique Fishing Cat, the Asian Small-clawed Otter and the Siamese Crocodile.
It has the world’s greatest diversity of turtles including the Giant Asian Pond Terrapin and Bigheaded Turtle.
On valley walls, terrestrial flora and fauna are well-maintained in often pristine conditions.
The Golden Eye Monkey, Small Panda, Wild Donkey of Dulong and Wild Ox still flourish in this basin.
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