Important Protected Areas of the World (Outside India)

North America

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (United States)

Established in 1980, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest national park in the United States, encompassing over 8 million acres of remote Alaskan wilderness. It comprises 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the Untied States and the largest concentration of glaciers in Alaska.

Wood Buffalo National Park

It is the largest national park in Canada at 44,000 sq km and is home to wild bison herd in Canada. It is also home to one of world’s largest inland deltas, the Peace-Athabasca Delta and hige salt plains that attract many migrating birds. Due to biodiversity, it has been designated UNESCO world Heritage site.

Katmai National Park and Preserve

Katmai National Park and Preserve is located on the Alaskan Peninsula and is known for having one of the world’s largest populations of brown bears. The park is sperad in 4 million acres of land, including the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, an area formed by the 1912 volcanic eruption of Novarupta.

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

It is the northernmost national park in the US. No roads go through the park, transport via airplane only. It contains a vast wilderness area with no maintained tourist facilities. It is also home to Alaska natives like Athabaskan Indians relying on subsistence hunting.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

It is located in Alaska and is famous for its tidewater glaciers like Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers.  Glacier Bay was covered by thousands of feet of ice just 250 years ago during the Little Ice Age, but rapid glacial retreat has now revealed a vibrant coastal ecosystem that is still rebounding and being colonized by new life like bears, moose, and humpback whales.

Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park, located in Alaska, United States, is home to Mount Denali, the highest peak in North America at 6,190 m.  It has wide variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, moose.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, located in Arizona, encompasses 277 miles of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. The park is known for its layered bands of red rock, which reveal millions of years of geological history. With more than 5 million visitors a year, it is one of the world’s most visited parks. At up to 18 miles wide and over a mile deep, the Grand Canyon offers expansive vistas, as well as hiking trails and camping along the Colorado River. The park protects a wide variety of vegetation and wildlife. It has 3 distinct desert ecosystems based on elevations and rock layers. It is home to fauna like bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer and rare California condors.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park, located in United States, was established in 1872 as the world’s first national park. The park sits on a volcanic hot spot and contains half of all the world’s known geothermal features like hot springs and geysers, the most famous being Old Faithful. Yellowstone is also home to an abundance of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk.

Banff National Park

It was established in 1885 and is Canada’s oldest national park, and a a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Africa

Serengeti National Park (Tanzania)

Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania is Africa’s oldest and most popular national park. It is most famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million white-bearded wildebeest and 250,000 zebra seeking fresh grazing along a circuitous route. This wildlife spectacle also draws scores of predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. The 5,700 square mile savanna ecosystem also provides a refuge for giraffe, elephant, impala, buffalo, hippo, crocodiles, and over 500 species of birds.

Kruger National Park (South Africa)

Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It has great diversity of wildlife, including the Big 5 – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. Kruger offers an unparalleled safari experience with excellent opportunities for viewing game along the extensive road network and at watering holes.

Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Africa’s oldest national park, established in 1925. It is home to a quarter of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas as well as eastern lowland gorillas.

Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda)

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda protects the volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains. It is home to about one third of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. It is also known for 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Australia

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park extends for over 1,400 miles off the coast of northeast Australia. It encompasses one of the world’s largest and most complex and spectacular coral reef ecosystems, with over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. The marine park protects a great variety of aquatic species including whales, dolphins, sea turtles and large populations of dugong.

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park in Australia is a UNESCO World Heritage site that protects incredible biodiversity and sites of immense cultural significance for its Aboriginal owners. Kakadu safeguards over 2,000 plant and animal species including estuarine crocodiles, 7 species of turtle, over 200 kinds of birds and important populations of wallaroos and dingos.

Great Sandy National Park

Known for vast dune and coastal system on Fraser Island with rainforests, freshwater lakes, and dingoes.

Blue Mountains National Park

Accessible park near Sydney to experience classic Sandstone rock formations, canyons, and eucalypt forests.

Fitzgerald River National Park

High levels of endemic plants and animals makes it one of Australia’s most biodiverse national parks.

Asia (Outside India)

Komodo National Park (Indonesia)

This group of volcanic islands is home to around 5,700 giant Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizard. It also has incredibly rich marine biodiversity with over 1,000 fish species and diverse coral reefs inhabited by sharks, manta rays, turtles and more.

Ujung Kulon National Park (Indonesia)

This UNESCO World Heritage site protects the last remaining handful of critically endangered Javan rhinos, now found nowhere else after poaching drove them to extinction across the rest of their range. Expensive efforts are ongoing to try to preserve and breed these unique rhinos.

Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal)

Encompassing Mt. Everest and other high Himalayan peaks, this inspirational landscape is deeply revered by Sherpas as well as climbers and trekkers who ascend to experience its remote glaciers and dizzying summits. It sees over 35,000 visitors yearly.

Gunung Mulu National Park (Malaysia)

This park is most famous for its extensive limestone cave systems with gigantic chambers and the largest known cave passage in the world named the Sarawak Chamber. Its old-growth Borneo rainforests also harbor incredible biodiversity.

Khustain National Park (Mongolia)

This park plays a crucial role in the ongoing reintroduction efforts to preserve Przewalski’s horse, a rare and endangered subspecies of wild horse native to the Mongolian steppes. Over 200 now roam the park after going extinct in the wild in the 1960s.

Tawau Hills Park (Malaysia)

Important refuge for the endangered Bornean orangutan and other endemic rainforest wildlife.

Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest (Thailand)

Protects Asia’s largest remaining tract of dry tropical forest at threat from development.

Russian Altai (Russia)

Vast mountainous region important for endangered snow leopards and traditional nomadic peoples.

Changbaishan Nature Reserve (China)

Protects unique conifer-broadleaf forest at the China-North Korea border along with volcanic peaks.

South America

Galápagos Islands (Ecuador)

Volcanic islands famous for their unique flora and fauna, including giant tortoises, that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. 97.5% is protected national park.

When Charles Darwin visited in 1835, his observation of Galapagos’ unusual endemic species led to his theory of evolution by natural selection. Eccentric animal life found nowhere else, like marine iguanas, giant tortoises, sea cucumbers and fearless finches, inspired efforts to protect this “laboratory of evolution” from destructive invasive species. Pioneering preservation tactics were led by organizations like the Charles Darwin Foundation.

Iguazú National Park (Argentina/Brazil)

Home to the impressive Iguazú Falls waterfall system and lush Atlantic Forest. Established in 1934, it spans 67,000 hectares.

Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

Located in southeast Venezuela, this 30,000 sq km park is known for Angel Falls, the world’s tallest waterfall at 979 m. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

Manú National Park (Peru)

This biodiverse park protects over 15,000 sq km of Amazonian lowland tropical forests. Home to over 1,000 species of birds, 200 mammals, and innumerable insects.

Torres del Paine National Park (Chile)

Iconic Chilean national park filled with mountains, glaciers and grasslands. Its stunning granite peaks soar over 2,500 m into the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.

Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary (Peru)

Protects the ruins of iconic Machu Picchu, a well preserved 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 m above sea level in the Andes Mountains.

Los Glaciares National Park (Argentina)

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park protects a major ice field in the Andes over 730,000 hectares. Home to 47 large glaciers and countless rare species.

Rapa Nui National Park (Chile)

Covers much of Easter Island, protecting the iconic moai statues and other archaeological sites left by its early Polynesian settlers.

Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (Peru) – At over 20,000 sq km, this is one of the largest protected wetland areas in the Amazon basin, with abundant wildlife.

Yasuní National Park (Ecuador)

A 9,820 sq km slice of highly biodiverse northwest Amazonian rainforests home to several indigenous tribes as well as jaguars, toucans and 600+ bird species.


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