Tagged: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Komodo National Park: Where Dragons Still Rule [35 PICS]

November 10th, 2011 Permalink

Komodo National Park in Indonesia is another of the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. The park has much more than reptiles, but it was founded to protect one of the world’s largest lizards — Komodo Dragons. In time, the national park expanded its conservation goals to protect marine life as well. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 and has maintained a high rank in the New Wonders of Nature competition. Komodo National Park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and many smaller ones. [35 Photos]

forked tongue komodo dragon

The Komodo Dragon is the most famous reptile in the national park. These dragons can grow to be over 9 feet (3 meters) long and weigh over 150 pounds. Photo #1 by Richard Wasserman

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Incredible Iguazu Falls: Over, Under, or On a Boat in Devil’s Throat [26 PICS]

November 3rd, 2011 Permalink

Iguazu Falls, in the Iguazu River, is one of the largest waterfalls in the world and a tremendous natural wonder being that there are about 275 separate waterfalls ranging from 200 – 269 feet high. Devil’s Throat is the tallest of these falls which extend for nearly two miles in a huge semi-circle. Iguazu Falls is another of the very popular finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition.The legend behind this giant falls goes like this: A god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In rage the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. Iguazu Falls is located near the border of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. The area has two National Parks, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. [26 Photos]

Panorama of Iguazu Waterfalls

Panorama of Iguazu Waterfalls. Photo #1 by Martin St-Amant

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Beyond Gorgeous: Great Barrier Reef (46 PICS)

October 27th, 2011 Permalink

This is the planet’s largest coral reef system and it can be seen as far away as outer space! The gorgeous Great Barrier Reef is off the coast of Australia, in the Coral Sea, and stretches for 1,600 miles (2,600 kilometers); it’s made up of about 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands. It is the single biggest structure created by billions of tiny living organisms. The reef supports an extremely rich diversity of life and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. The beautiful Great Barrier Reef is also one of the very popular finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. Although a large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit human impact like fishing and tourists, tourism still generates around a whopping $1 billion per year. With the spectacular seascapes, landscapes, some of the most stunning marine scenery in the world, it’s not hard to understand why. It’s definitely on our bucket-list to see and dive before we die. Visitors often scuba dive and snorkel to photograph the remarkable and natural underwater beauty of the reef. [46 Photos]

You Can Help Conserve Coral Reefs

You can help conserve this gorgeous Great Barrier Reef, a consistently popular choice among the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. According to NOAA, “Even if you don’t live near a coral reef, you can still have an impact on them. Awareness is a big step towards changing behaviors that threaten reefs, and ensuring your impact on reefs is a positive one. Therefore, we all need to be aware of the importance of, and threats to, coral reefs.” Photo #1 by NOAA’s National Ocean Service

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A Lost World Where Angel Falls Plunges off Devil’s Mountain [38 PICS]

October 15th, 2011 Permalink

Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall, is on the table-top mountain of Auyantepui which means “Mountain of Evil” or “Devil’s Mountain” in the native Pemon people’s language. This amazing waterfall is 3,212 feet high and plunges 2,648 ft over the edge of the Auyantepui mountain in the Canaima National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Angel Falls is 19 times higher than Niagria Falls and is one of the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition — in fact it is considered to be a highly probable winner. Although this famous waterfall is one of Venezuela’s top tourist attractions, it’s not so easy for the faint of heart to reach. Traversing through the jungle is a surreal adventure in itself and has been compared to traveling through a “Lost World.” There is an isolated jungle to trek, a flight to reach Canaima camp, and then a river trip to reach the base of the falls. Some adrenaline junkies make this journey for one reason, adventurous ‘angels’ come to fall off Devil’s Mountain. [38 Photos & 2 Videos]

Angel Falls world's highest free-falling waterfall

Angel Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall, is located deep within the Canaima National Park in Venezuela. The trek through the jungle is a surreal adventure in itself and has been compared to traveling through a “Lost World.” Photo #1 by My[confined]Space

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Sacred Uluru: The Ancient Heart of Australia [41 PICS]

September 15th, 2011 Permalink

Uluru, also known as Ayres Rock, is a World Heritage Site and a finalist in the running for the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. Uluru is considered as the ancient heart of Australia; it’s sacred to the Aṉangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. While many tourists feel like they must climb Ayers Rock before they die, the Aṉangu do not believe in climbing this landmark since it is of great spiritual significance to them. Uluru and Kata Tjuta make up the two major features of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Some tourists to central Australia feel like this beautiful and ancient heart is the most anticipated highlight of their visit. [41 Photos]

Uluru at sunset

Uluru at sunset. This gorgeous natural sandstone icon in Australia stands over 1,141 feet (348 m) above sea level and has more hidden below ground than what you see here. Uluru, also known as Ayres Rock, can appear to be differing shades of red depending upon the time the day and how the sun strikes it. Photo #1 by Richard Fisher

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Caving in a Palawan Boat: Puerto Princesa Underground River [31 PICS]

August 20th, 2011 Permalink

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan, Philippines, is another of the fabulous locations nominated as a finalists in the New Seven Wonders of Nature competitions. The PP Underground River features a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 km. navigable underground river and is the second longest underground river in the world. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is one of the most important biodiversity conservation areas of the Philippines. With its crystalline waters and spectacular cave formations, the Underground River is possibly Puerto Princesa’s most popular attraction. [31 Photos]

Aerial view of Coron, Palawan

Aerial view of Palawan paradise. Photo #1 by Patrick Kranzlmüller

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Wonder of Nature: Galapagos Islands [36 PICS]

August 10th, 2011 Permalink

The Galapagos Islands are made up of 18 main volcanic islands in an archipelago of Ecuador. These islands and the surrounding waters make up a national park and a biological marine reserve. The young naturalist Charles Darwin developed his theory of natural selection explaining evolution after researching the Galapagos Islands. These amazing islands are part of the ongoing series for finalists in the New 7 Wonders of the Nature competition. In 2007, UNESCO put the Galapagos Islands on the “List of World Heritage in Danger” due to the threats posed by invasive species, unbridled tourism and overfishing. Time and again, poachers have come into the Galapagos National Park and slaughtered sea lions. However in July 2010, the World Heritage Committee removed the Galapagos Islands from the “endangered” list because significant progress had been made by Ecuador in addressing threats. Yet in July 2011, Ecuadorean authorities seized 357 dead sharks from a boat that was fishing illegally in the protected waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Since the Galapagos Islands have 170,000 visitors each year, new regulations have been introduced to protect the unique wildlife. Starting February 1, 2012, these new tourism regulations will limit vessels visiting the same site to no more than once during a 14-day period which may impact on travelers planning to visit the beautiful islands. So what do you think? Should the Galapagos Islands become one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature? [36 Photos]

A squirming baby sea lion (less than 6 weeks old) on the beach of Espanola Island in the Galapagos

A squirming baby sea lion (less than 6 weeks old) on the beach of Espanola Island. Sadly, the beautiful Galapagos Island which are rich with diverse wildlife has battled with human beasts as a huge threat. In 2008, Galapagos National Park officials announced that 53 sea lions (13 pups, 25 youngsters, 9 males and 6 females) were killed at Pinta, Galapagos Islands nature reserve, with their heads caved in. In 2001, poachers killed 35 male sea lions. Photo #1 by sly06

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Erupting Volcanic Paradise: Lava Rivers & Spatter Fountains of Hawaii [48 PICS]

July 30th, 2011 Permalink

Volcanic activity is spiking in Hawaii and people are flocking there to see the spectacular show. Visitors, both regular folks and scientists, to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are able to witness the active volcanic personality and the formation of new cinder cones, glowing pit craters, rivers of lava and fountains of spatter. This volcanic paradise shows off 70 million years of volcanism, but was only established as a National Park in 1916. It stretches over 333,086 acres (505.36 square miles) and has two active volcanoes. While Kīlauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has been in nearly continuous eruption since 1983, Mauna Loa is the world’s most massive volcano. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has seven ecological zones, was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and became a World Heritage Site in 1987. Welcome to the Big Island and volcanic paradise! We love these pics! [48 Photos]

Lava erupting from the Pu`u `O`o vent

View at dusk of the young Pu’u ‘O’o cinder-and-spatter cone. The fantastic fountain on Kilauea, Hawaii, is shooting up about 40 m high. Photo #1 by G.E. Ulrich/USGS

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Animal Safari: Wildlife that makes you say WOW! [40 PICS]

July 14th, 2011 Permalink

Africa is not the only place on Earth to go on a safari, but it surely offers some of the best safari adventures around. Most of the African safari reserves have all the big five animals: the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. It’s now always easy to get photos of all on them on one safari, especially the nocturnal leopard. But these photographers did a great job of sharing with us the beautiful beasts they captured with their camera while on safari. So sit back and relax, let’s do some animal watching on this virtual safari. [40 Photos]

On Safari - Leopard in Heat

While on Safari in Africa, the photographer snapped a shot of this female leopard up in a tress and in heat. The male approached on the ground, but she “made an even louder racket and let out a loud bark at him.” So the male turned away and sauntered off. She jumped down and followed him. ;-) Photo #1 by Steve Jurvetson

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Lost Incan City of Machu Picchu: 100 Years after Discovery by ‘Indiana Jones’

July 8th, 2011 Permalink

Peru is celebrating 100 years since the rediscovery of Machu Picchu by Yale professor Hiram Bingham III. On July 24, 1911, the American, who some believe was later the “model” for Indiana Jones, stumbled upon jungle-and-vine-coated ruins during an expedition to find an ancient Inca Empire in the Andes mountains. Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. In 2007, it was crowned as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World via a worldwide Internet vote. To mark the Machu Picchu centennial celebration, here is a collection of pictures from the “Lost City of the Incas.”
[46 Photos]

Early morning in wonderful Machu Picchu

Early morning in wonderful Machu Picchu, a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level. Most archaeologists think Machu Picchu was built around AD 1400 as “an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti” and is often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas.” It is probably the most familiar icon of the Inca World. Around the time of the Spanish Conquest in 1572, the Incas abandoned their empire and the Peruvian jungle swallowed Machu Picchu. It wasn’t rediscovered until 1911 by American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham. There are about 140 structures or features, ranging from temples, to sanctuaries, parks, and residences, with more than 100 flights of stone steps carved from a single block of granite. Photo #1 by Pedro Szekely

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Gorgeous Jewels in an Emerald Sea: Halong Bay [40 PICS]

June 11th, 2011 Permalink

In northern Vietnam, east of Hanoi, is a gorgeous gem of nature which is famous for its stunning rock formations. Ha Long Bay translates to mean Descending Dragon Bay. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. It’s certainly not hard to see why with these breathtaking images. Ha Long (or Halong) Bay has a magnificent collection of 1,969 limestone monoliths that are dotted with jungle vegetation. The core of the bay has 775 islets. There may be 3,000 or more incredible islands of all various shapes and sizes rising up like jewels from an emerald sea. It would be easy to imagine pirates hiding behind the massive and sometimes hollow monoliths that hide gigantic caves. Birds can almost always be heard singing and monkeys can be seen playing on these monolithic islands that feature secluded beaches, grottoes, caves, and lakes. Welcome to Ha Long Bay, one of nature’s paradise locations! [40 Photos]

Titov Island overlooking Vietnam Ha Long Bay New7Wonders of Nature

Titov Island overlooking Vietnam Ha Long Bay. Will this be crowned as one of the seven finalists in the “New 7 Wonders of Nature” competition? Photo #1 by Alex Stoen

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Beautiful Borobudur: “Pathway to Enlightenment” in 40 Photos

May 9th, 2011 Permalink

On the island of Java, Indonesia, stands a mountain of a thousand statues which is shrouded in mystery and surrounded by volcanoes. Borobudur, an ancient Buddhist stupa and temple complex, was abandoned for centuries, but no one knows why. In fact, it was forgotten for so long that it was hidden beneath volcanic ash and overgrown by thick jungle for hundreds of years. But now beautiful Borobudur is hugely popular Buddhist monument in central Java. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We love these pics of Borobudur! [40 Photos]

Mt. Merapi erupts from Borobudur horizon

On the island of Java, Indonesia, stands a mountain of a thousand statues. Borobudur is surrounded by volcanoes such as in this photo of Mt. Merapi erupting from the Borobudur horizon. Borobudur shrouded in mystery. In 1814, 200 men set out to search for this legendary mountain near the small village of Boro. For six weeks, they slashed through wickedly thick vegetation and then cleared away tons of volcanic ash. Hidden beneath the debris, they uncovered strange figures carved in stone and they discovered thousands of them! This is beautiful Borobudur. Photo #1 by ctsnow

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