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Palau, Micronesia Is Naturally Eco-Friendly
And is making great strides in preserving its natural resources, including sharks, jelly fish, dolphins, agriculture, aquaculture and coral reefs
By: Molly Blaisdell
With so many tourism entities intent on implementing new environmentally-
To begin, the Pacific nation of Palau recently created the world’s first officially-recognized shark sanctuary, a biological sanctuary to protect great hammerheads, leopard sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks and more than 130 other species fighting extinction in the Pacific Ocean. The objective is to end all commercial shark fishing in Palau’s waters and provide a sanctuary for sharks to live and reproduce unmolested in our 237,000 square miles of ocean.
Additionally, President Remengesau developed the Micronesia Challenge, which is a regional inter-governmental initiative in the western Pacific region that facilitates more effective conservation of marine and forest resources in Micronesia. President Remengesau, Jr. has called on his regional peers to join him in conserving 30% of near shore coastal waters and 20% of forest land by 2020. Visit www.palaugov.net/
To complement these efforts, the Palau Conservation Society has been a leader in conservation of Palau’s environment. Dedicated to the protection of biodiversity, Palau’s natural resources and to local communities that use those resources, PCS supports the establishment and management of conservation areas, the development of sustainable resource use policies and an increase of environmental awareness. Visit www.palau-pcs.org.
In addition to the government initiatives, Palau is home to some of nature’s most spectacular wonders of the world, namely: the plethora and variety of coral, which is featured at the Coral Reef Center; Jellyfish Lake; Micronesian Shark Foundation’s Shark Week; the River Boat Jungle Cruise; and Dolphins Pacific.
The Palau Aquarium is the interpretive division of Palau International Coral Reef Center, a non-profit organization which has become one of the best land based attractions, offering enlightening, first hand experiences to inspire understanding and respect of Palau’s natural marine ecosystems. Comprised of ten aquariums that convey details of 17 specific habitats, the exhibits recreate the breathtakingly beautiful marine environments and animal species found in those environments. Visit www.picrc.org.
The daring and unusual Jellyfish Lake features two types of jellyfish, namely the golden jellyfish known as Mastigias and the moon jellyfish known as Aurelia. This intriguing lake departs radically from convention for it is an enclosed body of water wherein, over the course of millennia, resident jellyfish have just a mild almost unnoticeable sting because they haven’t had to fight off predators. This allows adventure seekers a rare opportunity to swim amongst these truly unique water creatures. In order to access this unique adventure, visitors need to enlist the transport of a local tour guide. Visit www.visit-palau.com.
Shark enthusiasts are invited to enjoy a week of activities as the Micronesian Shark Foundation holds its 8th annual shark week at Palau’s Fish ‘n Fins, March 12-19, 2010. The Micronesian Shark Foundation is a Palauan-based, non-profit foundation whose goal is to research and monitor the many sharks of Palau as well as scientific shark data collection. Between February and April, hundreds of grey reef sharks migrate to the waters of Palau to mate. This generates a fabulous opportunity for shark lovers to dive with the world famous sharks of Palau and to participate in data collection. Visit www.fishnfins.com.
The River Boat Jungle Cruise is one of Palau’s newest eco-friendly tours, providing visitors with the ideal opportunity to relax and enjoy the island’s natural attributes firsthand. The one-hour, five-mile tour, visitors get a chance to see crocodiles; Palauan Fruit Dove Bird, or Biib; Palauan Fruit Bats; Kingfishers;
Dolphins Pacific is the world’s largest marine mammal interaction, educational and research facility. Situated in a 200-million-
Located in the westernmost corner of Micronesia, Palau is an archipelago of more than 586 islands with about 20,000 inhabitants. Consistently ranked as one of the world's best dive destinations, Palau is the ultimate paradise for the adventurous traveler, boasting some of the most spectacular water features and beaches as well as the world famous Rock Islands and Jellyfish Lake. With more than 1,400 species of fish and 500 species of coral, some have called Palau the "8th Natural Wonder of the World", while others have identified Palau as "One of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World." For more information about Palau, please visit www.visit-palau.com.
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