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Concerned conservationists’ grumbles greet Galapagos danger de-listing

galapagos.JPGA UN body has removed the Galapagos from its list of World Heritage in Danger, to the dismay of conservationists.

The islands had been added to the list in 2007 by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), due to threats from tousim and fishing. At its meeting in Brazil the UNESCO World Heritage Committee said “significant progress” had been made in addressing these problems.

But a number of groups have labelled the move premature.

“Galapagos may no longer officially be a World Heritage Site In Danger, but its unique biodiversity is still very much at risk,” says Toni Darton, chief executive of the Galapagos Conservation Trust.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature also decried the move.

“Threats from tourism, invasive species and overfishing are still factors and the situation in the Galapagos remains critical,” says Tim Badman, head of the IUCN’s world heritage programme (press release). “We will need continued strong commitment from the Ecuadorian government over the coming years to resolve these issues.”

Under consideration for possible World Heritage Listing at the meeting are the following scientifically-related sites:

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawaii

Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory, United Kingdom

Palaeolithic Rock Art Ensemble in Siega Verde, Portugal / Spain

Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca

Bikini Atoll, nuclear tests site

Major Mining Sites of Wallonia

Pirin National Park (extension), Bulgaria

Danxia, China

Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island, France

Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Kiribati

Dinosaur Ichnites of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal / Spain

Putorana Plateau, Russian Federation

Monte San Giorgio (extension), Switzerland / Italy

Mountains of the Pamirs (Tajikistan)

Image: Punchstock


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