The Sian Ka'an site in Mexico was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987. The site's name means "Origin of the Sky" in Mayan and contains tropical forests, mangroves, and marshes, as well as a large marine area intersected by the Caribbean Barrier Reef. On land there are 1,200 plant species, five species of felines (including jaguars and ocelots), as well as threatened tapirs and peccaries. Aquatic animals include manatees (Trichechus manatus) and nesting colonies of jabiru storks (Jabiru mycteria), frigate birds (Fregata magnificens), brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), and roseate spoonbills (Platalea ajaja).
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.