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Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California

The site comprises 244 islands, islets and coastal areas that are located in the Gulf of California in north-eastern Mexico. The Sea of Cortez and its islands have been called a natural laboratory for the investigation of speciation. Moreover, almost all major oceanographic processes occurring in the planet’s oceans are present in the property, giving it extraordinary importance for study. The site is one of striking natural beauty in a dramatic setting formed by rugged islands with high cliffs and sandy beaches, which contrast with the brilliant reflection from the desert and the surrounding turquoise waters. It is home to 695 vascular plant species, more than in any marine and insular property on the World Heritage List. Equally exceptional is the number of fish species: 891, 90 of them endemic. The site, moreover, contains 39% of the world’s total number of species of marine mammals and a third of the world’s marine cetacean species.

Criteria for inclusion as a World Heritage Site

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ixTo be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals. All
viiTo contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance. All
xTo contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation. All

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About the source: UNESCO

Within UNESCO's broad remit, this specialised agency of the UN works towards international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage, designating venues of exceptional value as World Heritage Sites.

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