World Heritage List adds 12 Properties, Overlooks Hawaii
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage has just announced the addition of 12 new sites to their list. Unfortunately, no site in Hawaii was included in their 2011 list. In 2010, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument was designated as a World Heritage Site. The 140,000 square mile area is composed of 10 islands and atolls in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands home to pristine coral reefs and more than 7,000 marine species. Hawaii’s only other World Heritage Site is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which was named to the list back in 1987. Comprised of 931 properties, the World Heritage List exists to protect and preserve places with significant cultural and natural heritage. This year’s list includes the Ningaloo Coast in Western Australia, home to whale sharks (the largest fish in the sea) during the months of May and June. While whale sharks also come to Hawaii, Ningaloo is unique in that the creatures arrive at the same time each year. Another site from this year’s list is the Ogasawara Islands of Japan. Also known as the Bonin Islands, these 30 subtropical and tropical islands are located 500 miles south of Tokyo. These islands, just like Hawaii, have exotic flora and fauna that can only be found on these particular islands.