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10 Fascinating Facts About the Belize Barrier Reef

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The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the ocean’s most awe-inspiring and magnificent ecosystems in the world.  It includes a diversity of habitats from mangrove forests, estuaries, sandy islands, atolls, and coastal lagoons where a plethora of life abounds.

Here are 10 amazing facts about the Belize Barrier Reef!

1.)  The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest coral reef in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

2.) There are seven protected marine reserve areas inside the reef.  ReefCI is located in the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve on the far southern end of the reef.

3.) Several endangered animals inhabit the Belize Barrier Reef, including sea turtles, manatees, and the American marine crocodile.

4.) Charles Darwin visited the Belize Barrier Reef during his historic journey around the world aboard the HMS Beagle.

5.) More than 500 fish species inhabit the Belize Barrier Reef, including grouper, porcupine fish, tarpon, barracuda, jewfish, cowfish, frogfish and yellowtail snapper.

6.) The Belize Barrier Reef is home to rare species like the hammerhead shark and jaguars. It is also home to animals like the spotted eagle ray, whale shark, killer whales, dolphins, conches, seahorses, eels, upsidedown jellyfish and octopuses.

7.) The Belize Barrier Reef is the location of the Belize Blue Hole, rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 places to dive on the planet.

8.) There are major bird colonies on the islands and atolls of the Belize Barrier Reef, including that of the red-footed booby, the common noddy, the masked booby and the brown booby. The reef is also home to brown pelicans, shorebirds, plovers, the olive throated parakeet, frigatebirds, ospreys, Great Blue Herons, laughing gulls, and double-crested cormorants.

9.) The Belize Barrier Reef is one of just two living organisms big enough to be seen from space.

10.) The Belize Barrier Reef is home to more than 350 species of shellfish and countless numbers of sponges, worms, and more than 100 species of coral.