New Caledonia is a collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean. It’s said to be about 3 times the size of Germany and larger than Alaska, covering more than 320 million acres. This is larger than any other protected area on the planet!
It has been named the Natural Park of the Coral Sea. This amazing habitat is home to a large variety of beautiful wildlife inhabitants. While much of the species are unidentified, there have been over a 1000 species of fish documented. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “Other species of interest include the dugong (Dugong dugon), a diverse population of water striders (Xenobates spp. and Halovelia spp.), two species of giant clams (Tridacna gigas and Hippopus hippopus), over 600 species of sponges, 5,500 species of mollusks, 5,000 species of crustaceans, and over 350 species of algae. Twenty-three known species of marine birds breed here, including the Red-footed booby (Sula sula), Sooty tern (Sterna fuscata), Lesser noddy (Anous tenuirostris), and Brown noddy (A. stolidus). Marine turtles include Green turtles (Chelonic mydas), Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Loggerhead turtles (Carettta caretta), and Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coricea).”
This wonderland is also home to the longest double barrier reef in the world, which reaches a length of 1,500 kilometers. Coral reefs are important for many reasons. Living coral reefs are the foundation for many marine species, and thus a crucial support for human life. The coral reef ecosystem is an intricate and diverse collection of species that interact with each other and the physical environment. They act as a home for many marine life to lay eggs and have babies. Aside from producing fish that feed millions of people, coral plays an important role in our environment by helping to control how much carbon dioxide is in the ocean. Without coral, carbon dioxide levels would rise dramatically which would affect all life on earth.
“This is a monumental decision for New Caledonia and the entire Pacific,” says David Emmett, senior vice-president for Conservation International’s Asia-Pacific program, in a press release about the park. “Such a measure exemplifies what other countries in the Pacific can do to fully invest in the long-term health and productivity of their ocean resources.”
The health of our habitats and surrounding wildlife is only an extension of us and reflects the health of us as a whole. Major decisions such as this new reserve are instrumental in protecting the well-being of our planet for now and future generations.
The amazing beauty of New Caledonia