Sri Lanka, Hawaii sites get world heritage status

Sri Lanka’s central highlands and a protected marine area in Hawaii, the only habitats of several endangered plant and animal species, have been added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites, the U.N. body said on Saturday.

Sri Lanka’s central highlands were deemed of prime importance because of the pristine forests that are home to the Sri Lanka leopard and other rare animal and plant life.

The Hawaiian marine site, known as Papahanaumokuakea, is the habitat of the endangered Hawaiian Monk seal and rare birds. The site encompasses about 140,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean. Its isolated reef ecosystems are dominated by top predators like sharks.

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