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Is the Great Barrier Reef Dying?

Great Barrier Reef, Dead

Is the Great Barrier Reef Dying?

Australia is home to one of Earth's greatest natural beauties: the Great Barrier Reef. The U.N. will likely add this popular tourist destination to the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger. Should this happen, and is the Great Barrier Reef dying?

What is the Great Barrier Reef?

Located near Queensland, Australia, The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund, "The Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 411 types of hard coral, one-third of the world's soft corals, 134 species of sharks and rays, six of the world's seven species of threatened marine turtles, and more than 30 species of marine mammals, including the vulnerable dugong."

The effort to downgrade its status

According to the Associated Press, the U.N. World Heritage Committee reported that the reef is in danger. A vote will take place soon to decide if the Great Barrier Reef should be added to UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger. Australia has fought the U.N.'s efforts because downgrading the coral reef's status could lead to a decline in the area's tourism, which could affect local businesses.

Is it dying?

According to the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the coral population of the Great Barrier Reef dropped more than 50% between the years 1995 and 2017. Human activity and overtourism have caused great harm to one of Earth's largest ecosystems. Downgrading its endangered status and recognizing the destruction that humans have caused would help to heal the reef.

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