MADRID - The Tubbataha Reefs Marine Park, an existing World Heritage Site in the Philippines and which includes a number of endangered species, has been significantly extended by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Friday.
A press release on the IUCN website said the Tubbataha Reefs Marine Park, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993, is now three times bigger than the original, increasing from 33,000 to 97,000 hectares to include the Tubbataha Reefs National Park.
The National Park harbors more than 350 species of coral and almost 500 species of fish.
“Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, composed of two atolls and one reef, is home to a number of threatened and endangered species, such as the iconic Napoleon wrasse,” said Josephine Langley, IUCN’s World Heritage Monitoring Officer.
“It’s in a unique position in the middle of the Sulu Sea and is the perfect site to study the response of a natural reef system to the impacts of climate change.”
The IUCN also announced that the tidal flats and wetlands of the Wadden Sea, off the coast of Germany and the Netherlands, and Italy's Dolomite mountains have been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List. The announcements were made on the fifth day of a meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in Seville, in southern Spain.
"The Wadden Sea is the largest unbroken system of inter-tidal sand and mud flats in the world," it said.
"It is one of the most important areas for migratory birds, with up to 6.1 million birds present at any one time more than 400,000 breeding pairs and an average of 10-12 million birds which pass through every year."
It said the Dolomites in Italy were chosen "due to their outstanding natural beauty and the geological significance of their limestone formations.
"Some of the rock cliffs rise more than 1,500 metres (1,640 yards) and are among the highest vertical limestone walls in the world.
"The fossil record of the Dolomites provides an insight into the recovery of marine life after near extinction more than 200 million years ago."