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UNESCO - Galapagos islands, national park on world heritage list

MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - A UNESCO committee declared Tuesday the Galapagos islands in Ecuador and Niokolo-koba national park in Senegal are endangered sites and have been put on the World Heritage List.

"The World Heritage Committee, meeting for its 31st session in Christchurch, made this decision on Tuesday as it was reviewing the state of conservation of sites inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List," the UNESCO said in a press release.

The organization said the decision was aimed at raising awareness and support for the conservation of the sites.

"Inscribed in 1978, the Galapagos is the first site to have been placed on the World Heritage List. Its boundaries were extended in 2001," reads the press release.

The unique ecosystem of the Galapagos, which includes 19 islands in the Pacific and the surrounding marine reserve 1,000km off South America, is called "a living museum and a showcase of evolution." The islands are now threatened by harmful flora and fauna from the mainland and booming tourism and immigration.

Niokolo-koba National Park is located along the Gambia river. Its forests and savannas are abundant in fauna and are inhabited by chimpanzees, lions, leopards, and a large population of elephants, as well as numerous birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

The site is facing dangers from poaching and a dam project to be located several kilometers upstream from the park. The dambuilding plans could endanger the grasslands.

The World Heritage List includes 830 sites forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. These include 644 cultural, 162 natural and 24 mixed properties in 184 States Parties.

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