The fish was far too heavy to pull into the boat, Kamar says, so had to drag the net with the fish in it behind his boat back to the village. Researchers fear the giant freshwater stingray could disappear before we’ve ascertained how big it can get and what other secrets it holds. These concerns are not trivial. The Mekong River has proven itself incredibly resilient but the accelerating pace of change, coupled with cumulative impacts of trans-boundary stressors and the impending impacts of climate change point to a common concern among those who work and live in the lower Mekong River Basin: a fear that the river, which is the lifeblood of most of Southeast Asia, will gradually lose function until it no longer supports the huge diversity of wildlife and millions of people that depend on it. The Sandoval presidency: What will it look like? One fisherman, El-Hadji Janadi, says he snared a nearly 500-pound ray earlier this year using a 328-foot-wide trawling net dragged at the bottom of the lake. The Wonders of the Mekong Project and the Global Water Center collaborate with researchers, students, government scientists, and civil society including NGO's and fishermen, local to the areas most threatened. Giant Freshwater Stingrays were first identified by Pieter Bleeker, a Dutch ichthyologist in Indonesia in the year 1852. While fishing pressure and habitat loss threaten it throughout its Southeast Asian range, another major concern is pollution, says Mabel Manjaji-Matsumoto, a marine biologist at the University of Malaysia, Sabah, who’s been studying the species since the mid-1990s. The study published in Global Change Biology calls attention to the dire situation facing freshwater megafauna globally as well as the critical need for timely and extensive conservation efforts around the world. Mekong River species are among the largest, most unique and most threatened freshwater megafauna on the planet. A clear example of this can be seen in the Mekong River. “Maybe we’ve found it with the giant freshwater stingray. In Mongolia, for example In Mongolia, the Global Water Center works with anglers, fishing companies, and the government to develop sustainable fishing regulations including mandatory catch and release of Endangered giant trout. These critical partnerships help inform research and conservation priorities while also empowering local partners to continue conservation work after a project ends. He shakes his head, no. Dwindling populations. My hope is that as people learn more about them, the threats they face and the possible solutions to the most urgent problems, people will take action to protect them. He left it overnight, hoping to catch fish to sell and to eat. He is also a researcher with the Global Water Center at the University of Nevada, Reno where ongoing projects around the globe look for solutions to the most pressing challenges facing freshwater ecosystems and the people and biodiversity that depend on them. Hogan and the study coauthors agree that human fascination with megafauna species can be leveraged to raise public awareness of the crisis in freshwater ecosystems. Unverified reports from Borneo suggest catches of rays of similar size or even larger. A Khmer man wades neck deep in the Tonle Sap River, Cambodia with a Mekong giant catfish. Once the largest animals go, it's a warning we need to do something quickly to improve ecosystem health.". Now, there is increasing evidence they might be right. "We all need to be good stewards of freshwater ecosystems, given the people and animals that depend on them for survival.