After a record-breaking Mekong giant catfish died, residents of Hat Khrai, a Thai village on the Mekong River, butchered the fish for its meat.
"Mekong people believe it's a sacred fish, because it persists on plant matter and 'meditates'"in the deep, stony pools of the Mekong River"somewhat like a Buddhist monk, said Zeb Hogan, a fisheries biologist who studies the largest freshwater fish in the world. A WWF conservation fellow and National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer, Hogan has received funding from the National Geographic Society Conservation Trust.
Mekong giant catfish attract high prices in Thailand, because eating the fish is supposed to bring good luck. Likewise, the Chinese believe that catfish meat boosts intelligence and prolongs life.