Mexico’s Islands And Protected Areas In The Gulf Of Baja California Declared A World Heritage Site

With more than 39 percent of the world’s species of marine mammals, the area becomes the 25th UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mexico

MEXICO CITY, August 10, 2005—Referred to as the “world’s aquarium byfamous sea explorer Jacques Cousteau, Mexico’s islands and protected areasin the Gulf of Baja California were declared a World Heritage Site thispast month by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and CulturalOrganization (UNESCO). Ranked first in the Americas and eighth worldwidein this regard, Mexico has an array of sites that have been recognized inrecent years for their historical, cultural and natural importance.

Nestled between the shores of the northwestern Mexican states of Sinaloa,Sonora and the Baja California peninsula, the 244 islands, islets andcoastal areas comprising the area, have been called a natural laboratoryfor the investigation of speciation. The rugged islands, with their highcliffs and sandy beaches are also home to 695 vascular plant species, morethan any other marine and insular property on the World Heritage List. Inaddition, the aquatic paradise contains 39% of the world’s total number ofspecies of marine mammals and a third of the world’s marine cetaceanspecies.

UNESCO’s World Heritage sites are cultural, natural, or mixed landmarksthat represent the rich culture of a country and deserve internationalrecognition. After a destination is deemed a World Heritage site, a countrymay receive financial assistance and expert advice from the World HeritageCommittee to support activities for the preservation of its sites. Since1972, UNESCO has inscribed 812 properties in 137 countries worldwide on itsWorld Heritage List. For more information, visit whc.unesco.org.