While it seems that wetlands, woodland areas, rain forests, deserts and other large areas of natural terrain are being gobbled up by man and our lust for money, this isn’t always the case. Many areas of our world, around 15% is protected from any man-made devastation. This equated to over 160,000 places on Earth that are protected. The good news is these efforts top reserve our planet and its creatures is paying off by slowing the extinction rate of many species of life and in some cases has reversed the trend.
10. Northeast Greenland National Park
09. Chagos Marine Protected Area
Part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Chagos Marine Protected Area is the largest marine reserve in the world. Larger than the country of France, this marine reserve is located 500 kilometers south of Maldives. The seven atolls of Chagos are a wonder to see and are rich in biodiversity.
08. Phoenix Islands Protected Area
The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is located in the Republic of Kiribati, an ocean nation in the central Pacific approximately midway between Australia and Hawaii. PIPA constitutes 11.34% of Kiribati’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and with a size of 408,250 km2 (157,630 sq mi) it is the largest marine protected area (MPA) in the Pacific Ocean. PIPA was the world’s first large, truly deep water, mid-ocean MPA. The greater part of PIPA by area is ocean floor with a water column averaging more than 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) deep. There are rumors that missing aviator Amelia Earhart crashed on one of the islands in 1937.
07. Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is a World Heritage listed, U.S. National Monument encompassing 140,000 square miles (360,000 km2) of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, internationally recognized for both its cultural and natural values. The area is home to 7,000 different species, including the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.
06. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park protects a large part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef from damaging activities. Fishing and the removal of artefacts or wildlife (fish, coral, sea shells, etc.) is strictly regulated, and commercial shipping traffic must stick to certain specific defined shipping routes that avoid the most sensitive areas of the park. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest cluster of corals and other exotic marine life.
05. Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area
The protected area covers land in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe on the continent of Africa. There are several national parks incorporated into this preserved area, including Chobe National Park, Hwange National Park, the Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls. Designed to encourage tourism across several borders and the migration of mammals across borders, theKavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area was created by the Peace Parks Foundation and the World Wide Fund for Nature.
04. Galapagos Marine Reserve
The Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR) lies a thousand kilometers from the Ecuadorian mainland and covers an area of around 133,000 km2 (51,000 sq mi). The Galápagos Islands and the surrounding waters represent one of the world’s most unusual ecosystems and are rich areas of biodiversity. Recently granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the Galápagos Marine Reserve is the largest marine reserve in a developing country and the second largest reserve in the world.
03. Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park
Ever growing, this peace park covers land in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe and is comprised of 10 different national parks and reserves, including Banhine National Park, Kruger National Park and Limpopo National Park. Wildlife that makes their home here includes African elephants, giraffes, African leopards, cheetahs and spotted hyenas, among others.
02. Air and Tenere Natural Reserve
The Aïr and Ténéré National Nature Reserve is a national nature reserve in the West African nation of Niger. It includes several overlapping reserve designations, and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It covers both the eastern half of the Aïr Mountains and the western sections of the Ténéré desert. The Aïr and Ténéré UNESCO World Heritage Site was established in 1991, and marked as endangered 1992. The entire reserver covers 77,360 km2, which made it the second largest nature reserve in Africa, and the fourth largest in the world.
01. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve are a United States national park and national preserve jointly managed by the National Park Service in southeastern Alaska established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. This protected area is included in an International Biosphere Reserve and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park and preserve form the largest area managed by the National Park Service in the United States by area with a total of 13,175,799 acres (20,587.19 sq mi; 53,320.57 km2). This is larger than nine states and is comparable in size to the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Located in the park, Mt. St. Elias is the second highest mountain in both Canada and the United States; nine of the 16 highest peaks in the U.S. are located in the park.