Conservation groups are cheering the Australian government’s recent establishment of two new marine protected areas that in total size are nearly twice that of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The two new parks will be located northwest of the Australian continent, around the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island.
According to Pew Charitable Trusts Director Michelle Grady:
“Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are uniquely Australian and globally significant – there’s nowhere like them on Earth. Most famous for its annual red crab migration, Christmas Island was referred to as one of the 10 natural wonders of the world by David Attenborough himself. Its thriving rainforests, deserted beaches and fringing reef provide a haven for unique and rare seabirds, land crabs and marine life.”
The parks will cover an area of 740,000 square kilometers (286,000 square miles).
According to Parks Australia:
“The independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review identified this as a gap in the network and recommended that marine parks be created in these waters. Establishing marine parks now will also help to keep these waters healthy and pristine into the future.”
For more info on how the Australian government worked to create marine parks in the Indian Ocean Territories, click here.
(Image credit: Maxar Technologies)