The Galapagos Islands and Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal were added to the list of the UNESCO's World Heritage in Danger list, part of the U.N.'s World Heritage Committee-elected World Heritage List.

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Committee, meeting for its 31st session in Christchurch, New Zealand, said that the 19 islands of the Galapagos and their surrounding marine reserve are threatened by invasive species, growing tourism and immigration.

 

The committee said that "the number of days spent by passengers of cruise ships has increased by 150% over the past 15 years" and that "this increase has fuelled a growth in immigration and the ensuing inter-island traffic has led to the introduction of more invasive species."

Ecuador president Rafael Correa said in April that the islands were at risk and possible restrictions on tourism and immigration to the islands would need to be addressed.

The Galapagos region was the first site to be placed on the World Heritage List in 1978, UNESCO said. The islands' ecosystem helped shape Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Added to the World Heritage List in 1981, the Niokolo-Koba National Park is located on the banks of the Gambia River. The park is home to many endangered species, UNESCO said, including antelopes, chimpanzees, lions, and a large population of elephants. According to the committee, Its wildlife is endangered by poaching and by plans to construct a dam on the Gambia River.

The committee now lists 29 of the 830 World Heritage sites as in danger. That notation means that further resources will be mobilized for their conservation. UNESCO said.

Several places were also removed from the endangered list during the meeting, including, the Everglades National Park in Florida, and Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras. To view the entire World Heritage List, visit http://whc.unesco.org/en/list; the World Heritage in Danger list can be found at http://whc.unesco.org/en/danger.

To contact reporter Johanna Jainchill, send e-mail to [email protected].

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