Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Botswana's Okavango Delta accorded UNESCO World Heritage status

The Okavango Delta in Botswana has been listed by UNESCO as the 1,000th World Heritage Site. This inland delta, which is situated in the northwest of the country and fed by the the Okavango River (that originates over 800 miles away in the highlands of Angola), is the largest of its type in the world and is comprised of permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. The River Okavango is at its fullest during the dry season, due to rainfall and floodwater from the Angolan Highlands, and overflows into these plains. This attracts animals from miles around, making it one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife. It is home to populations of some of the most threatened large mammals in the world, including the cheetah, white and black rhinoceros, elephant, the wild dog and the lion. It harbours 24 species of globally-threatened birds. “The Okavango Delta has long been considered one of the biggest gaps on the World Heritage list and IUCN is proud to have been able to provide support to this nomination,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. We congratulate Botswana’s authorities on their extraordinary commitment to make this historic listing a reality.” “The Okavango Delta has been a conservation priority for more than 30 years and we are delighted that it has finally gained the prestigious status it deserves,” says Tim Badman, Director of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme. Its ecological and biological importance as well as its exceptional natural beauty make it a prime example of what World Heritage stands for.” UNESCO works to the identify, protect and preserve cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. Source: Wildlife Extra, (UK)

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