UPDATED World Heritage Sites supporting ACAP-listed species


"Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage".

To the places mentioned in the above quote may be added many of the places where ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels breed. A number of such sites has been registered with the World Heritage Convention, bringing an international status and stature to them. A list of such UNESCO World Heritage sites and their breeding ACAP species follows, in order of ACAP Party.

Eleven World Heritage Sites belonging to eight countries (five of which are Parties to ACAP) in total support breeding populations of 25 of the 31 ACAP-listed species.  Tentative sites are also listed.


Antipodes Island, part of the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands World Heritage Site, photograph by Erica Sommer


Heard and McDonald Islands

The Heard and McDonald Islands were Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997.  Heard Island covers approximately 36 800 ha, the McDonald Islands 1800 ha, and the territory nominated as a World Heritage Site includes adjacent offshore rocks and shoals. The area includes all territorial waters to a distance of 12 nautical miles. Breeding ACAP species are Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata and Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus. The Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans (a single pair) has bred in the past.

Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997. Comprises Macquarie Island, Bishop and Clerk Islets, Judge and Clerk Islets and surrounding waters to a distance of 12 nautical miles. There are seven ACAP-listed breeding species: Wandering Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross T. chrysostoma, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel M. halli and Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea.

Tasmanian Wilderness

The Tasmanian Wilderness was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982.  The site includes the offshore islets of Mewstone and Pedra Branca that support two of the three breeding populations of the Australian endemic Shy Albatross T. cauta.


Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978 and extended in 2001.  Placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2007 until 2010.  Includes the island of Española, breeding locality of the Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata, endemic to Ecuador.  A 40-nautical mile marine reserve surrounds the archipelago.


French Austral Lands and Seas

The islands of Amsterdam, Crozets, Kerguelen and Saint-Paul that are part of Terres australes et antarctiques françaises became a World Heritage Site entitled French Austral Lands and Seas in 2019.  ACAP-listed species that breed within the site include the Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis, endemic to Amsterdam Island, as well as the Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche carteri.  Also a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.


Ogasawara Islands

The Ogasawara Islands were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2011. The site consists of 30 islands clustered in three groups with an area of 7939 ha.  Black-footed Phoebastria nigripes, Laysan P. immutabilis and Short-tailed P. albatrus Albatrosses breed in the Mukojima Group, including on Nakodojima.  A translocated colony of Short-tailed Albatrosses is being established on Mukojima Island.


Archipiélago de Revillagigedo

The Archipiélago de Revillagigedo was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2016.  Reserva de la Biosfera Archipiélago de Revillagigedo (established in 1994) was designated as a Ramsar Wetland Site of International Importance in 2004.  Laysan Albatrosses breed on the islands of San Benedicto and Clarión. A Black-footed Albatross laid an egg on Isla San Benedicto in 2000.

 New Zealand

New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands

Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1998. The New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands World Heritage Site includes five island groups (Antipodes, Auckland, Bounty, Campbell and Snares), including their 12-nautical mile territorial seas. A total of 12 ACAP-listed species breeds within the World Heritage Site: Antipodes Albatross D. antipodensis (and its subspecies Gibson's Albatross D. a. gibsoni), Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora, Black-browed Albatross, Campbell Albatross T. impavida, Grey-headed Albatross, Salvin's Albatross T. salvini, White-capped Albatross T. steadi, Buller's Albatross T. bulleri, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis and Grey Petrel.

Te Wāhipounamu - South West New Zealand

The two Solander Islands are included within the Fiordland National Park which falls within the Te Wāhipounamu - South West New Zealand World Heritage Site inscribed in 1990.  One ACAP-listed species breeds on the Solanders, the Southern Buller’s Albatross Thalassarche b. bulleri.

United Kingdom

Gough and Inaccessible Islands

The Gough and Inaccessible Islands was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995 (Gough Island) and then extended to include Inaccessible Island in 2004. The extended site includes both islands and their territorial waters out to 12 nautical miles.  ACAP species breeding are Tristan Albatross D. dabbenena (endemic to the World Heritage Site), Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. chlororhynchos, Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca, Southern Giant Petrel, Grey Petrel and Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (endemic to the World Heritage Site).  Gough and Inaccessible along with their territorial waters are also individual  Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance.

United States of America


The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2010.  Black-footed and Laysan Albatrosses breed on eight island groups, including Kure, Midway and Laysan  Atolls, French Frigate Shoals, Lisianski Island and Pearl and Hermes Atoll in the North-western Hawaiian Islands. Three pairs of of Short-tailed Albatrosses have bred on Kure and Midway Atolls.

Tentative sites

Before a potential site may be considered for World Heritage status, a country is required to place it on its tentative list.  A number of breeding sites of ACAP-listed species has been so listed by five countries, two of which (Norway and South Africa) are parties to ACAP, as listed below with the year of placement on the tentative list.

Norway Bouvet Island, submitted 2007 as part of "Islands of Jan Mayen and Bouvet as parts of a serial transnational nomination of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge system".  Southern Giant Petrels have been recorded breeding in the past but may no longer do so due to loss of suitable habitat to marine erosion.

South Africa: Marion and Prince Edward Islands were submitted in 2009, but were later withdrawn.

Last updated 26 October 2020

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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