Raja Ampat Islands


Raja Ampat Islands

Located off the northwest tip of Bird's Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, Raja Ampat, or the "Four Kings", is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. It encompasses more than 9.8 million acres (40,000 km²) of land and sea, which also contains Cenderawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia. It is a part of the newly named West Papua (province) of Indonesia which was formerly Irian Jaya.

According to the Conservation International Rapid Assessment Bulletin the marine life diversity is considerably greater than all other areas sampled in the Coral Triangle of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world's coral reef biodiversity, the seas around Raja Ampat are possibly the richest 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 jeopardise the survival of corals around the world, though the area is remote and relatively untouched by humans. 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, and ability to replenish reefs make it a global priority for marine protection, as human activity here has the potential to be catastrophic.

Over 1,070 fish species, 537 coral species (a remarkable 96% of all scleratinia recorded from Indonesia are likely to occur in these islands), and 699 mollusc species, the variety of marine life is staggering. Fact|date=January 2008 Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs.

External links

* [http://www.divetheworldindonesia.com/raja-ampat-irian-jaya-diving-sites.htm Diving in Raja Ampat]
* [http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0709/indonesia/sights-and-sounds.html Indonesia Undersea - National Geographic Magazine feature on Raja Ampat]


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