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Belize Saves Its Barrier Reef

It's Good News Friday!

Earlier this week, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee voted to remove the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the list of Word Heritage Sites in Danger. This system represents about 80 percent of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

UNESCO's decision was based on the fact that Belize had banned "oil exploration in the entire maritime zone of Belize" and had strengthened "forestry regulations allowing for better protection of mangroves . . . ."

The Belize Barrier Reef is "the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere" and consists of "offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries." The reef is "a significant habitat for threatened species, including the marine turtle, the manatee and the American marine crocodile."

IFL Science reports that the reef "is home to over 500 species of fish, 106 species of coral, several types of sea turtle, a dizzying assortment of marine invertebrates, and populations of the threatened West Indian manatee . . . ."

Read UNESCO's announcement here.

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