The region's unique system of rivers and lakes
, and mountain forests
forms a garden of Eden, marked by rich biodiversity and wildlife.
The rivers support dwindling populations of such rare creatures as the Yangtze's river dolphin
, finless porpoise and alligator. The lakes provide critical habitat for migratory birds, including 95% of the wintering Siberian crane
population. And the forested mountains jetting out above the river are home to the country's iconic giant panda
Taming the dragon
While the Yangtze river basin is one of the most significant ecosystems in the world, the region's unique environment is under threat
Densely populated and heavily industrialized cities have led to high levels of pollution
and habitat loss. Deforestation and loss of wetlands to agriculture have increasingly led to floods.
The Yangtze river basin is also threatened by dams
, which alter that natural flow of the river.
Not just panda protection
Since coming to China in the 1960s to work on panda conservation, WWF is today on the ground in the Yangtze river basin to:
promote sustainable development
restore floodplains, lakes and wetlands
protect wildlife habitats and forests
improve livelihoods of people who have depended on the Yangtze for centuries
For conservation to be successful, local engagement and participation are essential. WWF is working with local authorities and communities on a number of projects throughout the region to help ensure a Living Yangtze