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World Heritage Site

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Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary is a protected area for sharks, turtles and other sea animals.

The designated zone includes Malpelo Island and its surrounding marine environment. The island is located in the Pacific Ocean 500km off the Colombian coast.

The site is a fishing-free area, turning it into an "oasis in an oceanic desert". Malpelo holds a unique shark population; swarms of 500 hammerhead sharks and hundreds of silky sharks are frequently seen by diving expeditions. It is also the habitat of the critically endangered hawksbill and leatherback turtles.

Map of Malpelo


  • Natural

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Site Info

Full name: Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary

Unesco ID: 1216

Inscribed: 2006

Type: Natural

Criteria: 7   9  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2006 - Revision Reduced from former TWHS Gorgona and Malpelo Islands, Coastal and Oceanic National Marine Parks of Colombia's Eastern Tropical Pacific (2005)
  • 2006 - Deferred Gorgona Natural National Park
  • 2006 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Malpelo


The site has 11 connections.


  • Turtles and tortoises: hawksbill and leatherback turtles
  • Critically endangered fauna species: Leatherback Sea Turtle - "Recent estimates of global nesting populations are that 26,000 to 43,000 females nest annually, which is a dramatic decline from the 115,000 estimated in 1980" & Hawksbill sea turtle - declining numbers & Galapagos petrel
  • Whales: Whales include migratory humpback Megaptera novaeangliae and occasional blue Balaenoptera musculus (EN), fin Balaenoptera physalus (EN), sperm Physeter macrocephalus (VU), Bryde's Baleanoptera edeni, killer Orcinus orca, false killer Pseudorca crassidens, pygmy killer Feresa attenuata, Cuvier's beaked Ziphius cavirostris, beaked Mesoplodon sp., shortfin pilot Globicephala macrorhynchus and melonheaded Peponocephala electra whales. (UNEP WCMC)
  • Sharks


Individual People


  • Miocene: "Malpelo Island is composed of Miocene pillow lavas, volcanic breccias, and basaltic dikes that have been dated as being 16 to 17 million years old. This island and the underlying and underwater Malpelo Ridge were created along with the Carnegie Ridge in the Late Miocene by a very complex interaction between the Cocos-Nazca Spreading Centre and the Galápagos hotspot" (Wiki)

WHS on Other Lists

World Heritage Process


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