The Latest Endangered Species: Vacation Spots

Check out these 7 amazing locales soon; they may not be around for long.

By Karen Rowan|Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pack your bags; it could be your last chance to take these trips. Disappearing World: 101 of the Earth’s Most Extraordinary and Endangered Places by Alonzo C. Addison of the Unesco World Heritage Centre (Collins, $34.95) and Disappearing Destinations: 37 Places in Peril and What Can Be Done to Help Save Them by Kimberly Lisagor and Heather Hansen (Vintage Books, $15.95) will help guide you.

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
Although Asian one-horned rhinoceroses, tigers, and other endangered mammals managed to survive 15 years of a rebel occupation in this World Heritage Site in India, they still face the threat of logging and poaching due to the shortage of park police.

Glacier National Park
Going-to-the-Sun Road, a mountain highway in Montana, is all too aptly named. Less than 18 percent of Glacier National Park’s glaciers remain, and they may melt completely by 2030.

Lapland’s Boreal Forest
Finland has the world’s northernmost forest, jammed with ancient pines—or at least it used to. Aggressive logging is taking its toll, and less than 5 percent of the old-growth forests are left.

Great Barrier Reef
Billions of minuscule marine organisms called coral polyps built this World Heritage Site; now warming oceans are slowly killing it. Scientists predict that by 2050 the reef will bleach—lose its colorful symbiotic algae—every year.

Danube River and Delta
At the mouth of the blue Danube, one of the world’s best intact wetlands stands in the way of a project to revive an old Ukrainian port city. The Ukrainian government plans to dredge a canal to make Ukraine’s side of the marsh navigable; it completed phase one in 2007.

Appalachia’s Coal River Valley
The rugged, forested mountains of West Virginia are losing their tops. Coal-mining companies blast the peaks into the valleys and streams, which are filling with rubble and the corpses of trees.

The former cultural and economic capital of West Africa is drying up under climate change. Rain now falls over the ocean instead of on the once-fertile land nearby.

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