The river Tigris is in danger. It has been the lifeblood of ancient Mesopotamia and modern Iraq, but geopolitics and climate change have left the birthplace of civilisation at risk of becoming uninhabitable. In 2021, adventurer Leon McCarron travelled by boat along the full length of the river, in search of hope.
From the source, where Assyrian kings had their images carved into stone, McCarron and his small team journeyed through the Turkish mountains, across north-east Syria and into the heart of Iraq. Passing by historic cities like Diyarbakir, Mosul and Baghdad, McCarron kept the company of fishermen and farmers, but also artists, activists and archaeologists who rely on the flow of the river. Occasionally harassed by militias, often helped by soldiers, McCarron rode his luck in areas still troubled by ISIS and relied on the generosity of a network of strangers to reach the Persian Gulf.
Wounded Tigris is the story of what humanity stands to lose with the death of a great river, and what can be done to try to save it.