Saturday, 5 April 2014

Creation of Australia’s largest marine sanctuary a win for rare whale species

Expansion of the Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve will help safeguard wildlife, say conservationists, Friday 4 April 2014 06.30 BST

The government has created Australia’s largest fully protected marine reserve near two far-flung islands, in a move which environmental groups say will help safeguard rare whale species.

The Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve has been expanded by 6,200 sq km following a scientific assessment of its conservation values.

The reserve now spans 71,200 sq km of ocean. Heard and McDonald Islands, an Australian external territory located 4,100km south-west of Perth, are barren, uninhabited outposts considered among the most remote places on Earth.

The Australian Antarctic Division said the islands are “one of the most biologically pristine areas in the world”, featuring seals, penguins and seabirds, as well as a volcanic, glacial terrain.

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