With great swaths of vital marine territory being threatened elsewhere in the world (I’m looking at you Abbot), the coastal African nation of Gabon have taken steps to protect the marine wildlife in their waters by creating a massive underwater reserve, stretching 18,000 square miles (46,000 square kilometers), that’s a staggering 23% per cent of its waters. Gabonese president Ali Bongo Ondimba announced the initiative at the IUCN World Parks Congress on Wednesday after a two-year dialogue with National Geographic on the subject, stemming from a series of coastal surveys conducting in 2012.
Numerous endangered species will be protected as a result of this, including tiger sharks, Atlantic humpback dolphins and the world’s largest breeding population of leatherback turtles. This move might have been buoyed to some extend by Obama’s announcement of a 490,00o square mile reserve in the pacific a few months ago. Hopefully other nations will learn from these shining examples. Here are a few stunning images of the newly founded Gabonese reserve: