Australia's Great Barrier Reef at Risk

The health of the largest ecosystem on Earth is in danger. On Wednesday, UNESCO World Heritage delegates will announce whether they will place the Great Barrier Reef on a list of endangered World Heritage sites—a move the Australian government wishes to avoid. The 1,200-mile-long reef brings in billions of tourism dollars every year. Continued concerns about coastal development, particularly coal mining in Queensland, have renewed efforts to protect the reef. Some coral has been badly damaged and animal species, including dugong and large green turtles, are being threatened. According to Greenpeace, 50 percent of the reef's coral cover has been lost in the last 30 years. Reuters photographer David Gray flew to Lady Elliot Island on the southern end of the reef, capturing the following images of the tiny coral cay and surrounding shallow waters recently visited by UNESCO World Heritage delegates.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Noah Berger / AP

    Flying Around the World in a Solar Powered Plane

    Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg successfully landed the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, after flying around the world using only the power of the Sun.

  • David McNew / Getty

    The Terrible Beauty of Californian Wildfires, as Seen by David McNew

    Getty photographer David McNew has been covering Californian wildfires for more than a decade, and has an eye for finding the visual beauty amid the horrible destruction.

  • Aris Messinis / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week 7/16 - 7/22

    Unrest in Turkey, a Santa Claus competition in Denmark, virtual reality in Israel, kite running in Rio, and much more.

  • Bernadett Szabo / Reuters

    Bathing in Budapest

    Hot springs at this Hungarian location have been in use since the 12th century

Join the Discussion