Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, Palau
This site is located in Palau, a western Pacific island nation, and has a protected area of 1,002 km2, including 445 uninhabited limestone islands formed due to volcanic activity. The blue lagoon is surrounded by coral reefs, and many islands have a unique mushroom-like landscape. More than 385 species of coral and different types of biological habitats form the complex coral reef systems, which add to the aesthetic value of the heritage site. It also has a rich variety of vegetation, birds and marine life, including dugongs and at least 13 kinds of sharks. The listed heritage site protects the most concentrated seawater lakes in the world. They are independent seawater bodies that had been formed when they were cut off from the ocean by the land. This unique island group is conducive to maintaining the intrinsic mix of native species, and new species will likely be discovered in the future.