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Ancient Mayan temples, a relaxed boho vibe and one of the world's best beaches... It has to be Tulum, Mexico for to… twitter.com/i/web/status/7…
 
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Caribbean: Tropical Storm #Matthew is currently heading west across the Caribbean Sea and is expected to intensify to a hurricane by Friday.
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Toucan 2

New UNESCO World Heritage Sites for 2012

This week UNESCO announced it has added eight new heritage sites to its ever growing list of significant spots around the world. The eight new locations consist of four natural sites and four cultural.Though the sites themselves are indeed inspiring, beautiful and steeped in history, we thought we would peel back the layers of these eight exciting new settings, and see what wonderful wildlife the fresh Heritage Sites have to offer.

The Western Ghats




The breathtaking views from the mountains of the Western Ghats are near impossible to beat. As one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots it’s a wonder the Western Ghats haven’t been a World Heritage Site for longer. The Ghats provide a home for around 140 mammals, including the impressive lion-tailed macaque.



This curious looking primate is a type of Old World Monkey prevalent to the Western Ghats of South India. Often referred to as the “Wanderoo”, the lion-tailed macaque is distinguished by its silver coloured mane and enjoys snacking on indigenous fruits and small insects.

Rio de Janeiro




From the Copacabana to the statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro doesn’t need anybody to sing its praises; it is truly outstanding! The tropical climate and the abundant forest surrounding Rio have made it a fantastic place for exotic wildlife to find a home, and what animal represents Rio more that the Toco Toucan!



The Toco Toucan is the best known species in the toucan family and is a huge favourite with visitors to Brazil. At first glance it may look like these colourful creatures have blue eyes, but don’t be fooled, as the blue colour you see is actually a thin blue skin around the eye!

Hälsingland Farmhouses, Sweden




The Hälsingland farmhouses are a perfect example of traditional Swedish architecture. These wooden structures have become famous for being elaborately decorated and stand out splendidly against the green pastures of the agricultural landscape.



Beyond the farms of Hälsingland and into the mountains and forests you are certain to come across one of Sweden’s native creatures, the wolverine. The name might give off the impression of a large wolf-like mammal with sharp claws and huge fangs, but the wolverine is in fact a member of the weasel family. These furry animals are solitary creatures and you will seldom find them with other wolverines. They may look cute, but watch out, as they have been known to kill prey many times their size!

Çatalhöyük, Turkey




Çatalhöyük has come to be the largest and best-preserved Neolithic sites found to date, which is why this location packed with history and mystery has been given World Heritage status. Çatalhöyük and its surrounding sites are an archaeologist's dream, but Turkey also boasts a large selection of wildlife that will keep the zoologists happy too!



A beauty you are sure to stumble upon in the mountains near Çatalhöyük and surrounding Anatolia is the fallow deer. Now a common creature in a lot of European countries, including the UK, the fallow deer’s original homeland was in the mountains of Turkey.

Lakes of Ounianga, Chad




The lakes of Ounianga consist of 18 lakes in the Sahara Desert. These freshwater, saline and hyper-saline lakes create a bountiful haven for the fauna of the otherwise dry and desolate Sahara Desert.



One animal that takes advantage of what the areas surrounding the lakes have to offer is the elegant dama gazelle. These majestic creatures have a tough time finding the food and water they need and spend their lives travelling from one end of the Sahara to the other to make the most of the dry and the wet seasons.

The Sangha Trinational




The Sangha Trinational is 750,000 hectares of pure paradise for animals and plants alike, covering the countries of Cameroon, the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. Many of the world’s most endangered species can be found there and it is home to a variety of different ecosystems. The Sangha Trinational has become something of a Mecca for wildlife both large and small.



The western lowland gorilla is just one of the critically endangered species living in the wild, but due to rapidly decreasing numbers it is now usually only found in zoos.

Chengjiang Fossil Site, China




Chengjang fossil site has given scientists an incredible insight into evolutionary biology, especially palaeontology. Findings on the site date back to around 530 million years ago and have shown scientists significant signs of fast changes and diversification around that time.



Though the site is better known for looking at things that were there instead of what is there today, the wildlife of china cannot be forgotten. China is home to the awesome giant panda, a bear with a face anybody would recognise!

The Four Major Mining Sites of Wallonia, Belgium




This mining sites in the southern region of Belgium played a vital role in the industrial revolution, capitalising on its widespread deposits of iron and coal. The mining sites of Wallonia are some of the best preserved in the country and provide great examples of early utopian architecture from the industrial era.



The wildlife of Belgium may not be as exotic as Africa or Rio but it's certainly still noteworthy. The Belgian blue cow is one of the largest species of beef cattle and the ultra bulky appearance it has is known as “double muscling”. Belgian blue cows may look physically like some of the fattest cows you have seen, but surprisingly they actually produce meat that has a reduced fat content compared with normal sized cows!

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