Heard & McDonald Islands, Australia

The Heard & McDonald Islands site in Australia was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997. As the only volcanically active sub-Antarctic islands, Heard and McDonald provide the opportunity to observe ongoing geomorphic processes and glacial dynamics. The distinctive conservation value of these pristine islands is the complete absence of introduced plants and animals - or any other human impact - which makes this site ideal breeding grounds for animals like the southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) and king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus), pictured here.

Today, over 40 World Heritage sites are listed for their marine values. Together, they can be considered the "Crown Jewels of our Ocean" and are recognized for their outstanding beauty, exceptional biodiversity, or unique ecological, biological, or geological processes. Learn more about this and other marine World Heritage sites.