Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve, Russian Federation
The Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve site in Russia was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004. Located well above the Arctic Circle, the site includes the mountainous Wrangel Island, Herald Island, and surrounding waters. The reserve has exceptionally high levels of biodiversity and boasts the world's largest population of Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens – pictured here) and the world's highest density of ancestral polar bear dens (Ursus maritimus). It's also an important feeding ground for gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) migrating from Mexico and is the northernmost nesting ground for 100 migratory bird species, many of which are endangered.
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.