Posted : March 2014Author : Sonic070
Our planet abounds with unusual and unique natural wonders, both animal and plant species, as well as specific geographical terrains. Many governments have invested large funds in protecting certain areas, and preserving their natural and cultural values. There are over 160,000 protected areas in the world. All together they make up a tenth of the total surface of our planet. Today, you’ll have the opportunity to view the Top 10 Protected Areas in the world.
Surface: 53.321 km2
This national park, situated in the south of Alaska was announced in 1980. With the surface area that equals that of nine American states, it is the biggest of its kind in America. St. Elias mountain is the second biggest in both Canada and America and up to 16 of the highest peaks in the U.S. are found in this park. The landscapes resemble those in the Swiss Alps.
9 Aïr and Ténéré National Nature Reserve
Surface: 77.360 km2
Aïr and Ténéré is located in the territory of Niger and is protected by UNESCO. Its name is the combination of two areas which it covers: the east half of the mountain Aïr and the west part of the desert Ténéré (belongs to the Sahara desert). The reserve is divided into two parts, the first is the refuge for endangered species where living conditions are strictly controlled and where visitors aren’t allowed, and the second is the natural reserve where visitors are allowed. One of the attraction of this place is the various kinds of dunes, caves, canyons, hidden water caves, plateaus and other geographical elements which can only be seen in this part of the world. Blue marble mountains and living dunes, which constantly change the looks of this space, are also found here.
8 Limpopo National Park
Surface: 99.800 km2
This national park is still expanding, and at the moment, it covers a part of the territory of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa which united their ten national parks. African elephants, giraffes, African leopards, spotted hyenas, white rhinos, mongoose and cheetahs are just some of the species which live in this national park. Its tourism is highly developed, and many safari tours are organized regularly. Besides the standard jeep tours, canoe tours, mountain tours and hiking tours are also very popular. They offer tourists the opportunity to enjoy various activities and to follow elephant herds.
7 Galápagos Marine Reserve
Surface: 133.000 km2
Galápagos Islands are located 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador. This reserve is the habitat for numerous species of sharks, whales, turtles, fish and marine stingrays. What is specific about this area is that it is a place where warm and cold sea currents and also salt and fresh water mix, which is why its population is comprised of some really unusual species. This is where Charles Darwin researched the development of species, which he published in his “Theory of Evolution”. The greatest threat for biodiversity of Galapagos is illegal fishing which mostly endangers lobster, sea cucumber, tuna and some species of shark.
6 Kavango Zambezi
Surface: 287.132 km2
This protected area covers several African countries: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Several national parks are situated in this area: Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park. Kavango Zambezi was created with the aim of achieving cross-boarder tourism and migrating of the mammals from one country to the other. Biological resources of this area include one of the most numerous colonies of the elephants in Africa.
5 The Great Barrier Reef
Surface : 345.400 km2
One of the most interesting natural attractions of Australia is without doubt the Great Barrier Reef. It is the greatest group of corals in the world and the home for some of the most exotic species. This area was proclaimed a national park after some of the corals started vanishing because of pollution. A large number of tourists and surfers visit this area nowadays but they have to obey certain strict rules. The Great Barrier Reef is placed near the coast of Queensland. It consists of 900 islands and 2,900 individual reefs that cover the length of 2.600 km. Tourism in this area brings 1 billion dollars per year to Australia.
4 Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Surface : 360.000 km2
Most of the tourists that visit the Hawaiian Islands look forward to visiting this area. It offers its visitors as many as 7000 different animal and plant species, flowers of unimaginable colours and scents and the endangered species of seal, the Hawaiian monk. The first interest for putting this area under protection was shown in 1909 by Theodore Roosevelt. This idea was realized only in 2006 by George Bush. Funds for maintenance of the reserve are provided by the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Internal Affairs of the U.S.
3 Phoenix Islands Protected Area
Surface : 408.250 km2
The largest reserve of the underwater world of the Pacific is located in the Republic of Kiribati. The mystery disappearance of famed aviator Amelia Earhart in 1937 is connected to this exact area. PIPA consists of eight islands, five of which are inhabited by extremely rare and endangered species of birds. They are a great attraction for tourists as well as for scientist who are allowed to visit certain parts of the islands only with special permissions.
2 Chagos Archipelago Marine Park
Surface: 545.000 km2
The territory of the biggest marine park in the world and the largest marine life reserve is under the patronage of the UK. Its surface is bigger than the surface of France and it is situated 500 km south of the Maldives. Seven atolls, coral islands - in which marine world is one of the most beautiful and the most versatile on the planet are found within this reserve. Chagos is the habitat for more than 1200 different species of coral and fish and it is also the home of one of the most endangered species of turtles.
1 Northeast Greenland National Park
Surface: 927.000 km2
The biggest national park in the world covers the whole north of Greenland. The fact that its surface is larger then the surface of 163 out of 194 countries in the world speaks for itself. This national park is inhabited by polar bears, morses, arctic foxes, snowy owls and other species, many of which are endangered. This park was declared in 1974 and it has expanded since then. In 1997 it was declared an international biosphere reserve.