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THE ATTRACTIVE OF RAJA AMPAT PAPUA
The Raja Ampat, or “Four Kings,” archipelago encompasses more than 9.8 million acres of land and sea off the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s West Papua Province. Located in the Coral Triangle, the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, the seas around Raja Ampat possibly hold the richest variety of species in the world.
The area’s massive coral colonies show that its reefs are resistant to threats like coral bleaching and disease —threats that now jeopardize the survival of corals around the world. In addition, Raja Ampat’s strong ocean currents sweep coral larvae across the Indian and Pacific Oceans to replenish other reef ecosystems. Raja Ampat’s coral diversity, resilience to threats, and ability to replenish reefs make it a global priority for marine protection.
In 2002, The Nature Conservancy and its partners conducted a scientific survey of the Raja Ampat Islands to collect information on its marine ecosystems, mangroves, and forests. The survey brought Raja Ampat’s total number of confirmed corals to 537 species— an incredible 75% of all known coral species. In addition, 899 fish species were recorded, raising the known total for Raja Ampat to an amazing 1,074. On land, the survey found lush forests, rare plants, limestone outcroppings, and nesting beachesfor thousands of sea turtles.
“ Raja Ampat lies hidden in a remote corner of the sea, surrounded by the world’s most-complicated island geography. It’s a coral universe with enormous currents and tides bathing the reefs in an endless plankton stew. The combination of an infinite range of habitat and rich currents has produced an undersea wilderness dripping in biodiversity. A true Last Place on Earth “ - David Doubilet and Jen Hayes (Underwater photographer/photojournalist in National Geographic)
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