An archipelago of killer cats; Jack Palfrey; BBC

Bangladesh – The Sundarbans

Each year, approximately 30 people are killed by tigers in the Sundarbans – so why do locals revere rather than fear these killer cats?

“In 23 June 1984, I was attacked.”

Phoni Gyen took a seat on a dock overlooking the still waterways of the Sundarbans, a low-lying archipelago in the Ganges Delta, and settled quickly into his gory sermon. A wispy grey hairline retreated from a scarred, sun-dyed face, like a litter-choked river exposing a dry, cracked riverbed.

“We’d spent the morning fishing,” he said, his small audience fidgeting in the fierce Bengal sun. “I was on the riverbank when I heard a noise coming from the trees.

“I tried to run, but before I could move it was on top of me.”

A tiger had pounced on Gyen from a nearby palm tree, pinning him to the ground.

 

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The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – A Jolly Ride Worth Experiencing!; Akshatha Vinayak; Native Planet

Come, let us make a virtual ride in the amazing Darjeeling Himalayan Railway!

Source: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – A Jolly Ride Worth Experiencing!

Russia returns cathedral to Orthodox Church; Roman Goncharenko; Deutsche Welle

Russia – Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments

The largest church in Saint Petersburg, Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, is to be transferred from Russia’s museum holdings into the hands of the Orthodox Church. The decision has caused protests and is not an isolated case.

Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is a “must” for tourists. It is the largest and most famous church in Saint Petersburg, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The magnificent building, with its highly visible golden dome, attracted some 3.8 million visitors in 2016. However, these days the cathedral is at the center of a fight in the Russian cultural metropolis; which also happens to be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hometown.

Never owned by the church

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Thap Lan: Thailand’s unsung forest gem under threat, but still abrim with life; Demelza Stokes; Mongabay

Thailand – Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex

Thap Lan National Park, a key part of one of Southeast Asia’s most significant forest ecosystems, faces poaching, encroachment and a major highway project.

  • Thailand’s Thap Lan National Park is part of the Dong Phayayen – Khao Yai Forest Complex (DPKY-FC), designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its importance to global biodiversity.
  • The DPKY-FC supports 112 species of mammals, 392 species of birds, and 200 species of reptiles and amphibians.
  • Thap Lan receives few visitors and faces major threats, including poaching, illegal logging and the expansion of a highway leading from Bangkok to the country’s northeast.
  • The park, along with the rest of the DPKY-FC, could be downgraded by UNESCO to inscription on the “List of World Heritage in Danger.”

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7 Off-the-Beaten Path Destinations for Your Travel List; RSSC Blog

Australia – Fraser Island

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ luxury travelers are always looking for new experiences in destinations less frequented.  As part of the spectacular 2018-2019 Voyage Collection, we introduced 28 new ports within 113 itineraries aboard our luxurious ships.

From the largest sand island in the world to a charming city in a forest, we spotlight seven off-the-beaten-path ports to add to your travel list.

Bodo, Norway

Located on a stretch of coastline in northern Norway, Bodo is an extraordinary place. Here you can go kayaking under the midnight sun, take a tour on a fast passenger boat through the impressive archipelago or fish in the world’s strongest tidal current, Saltstraumen.

Visit Bodo aboard Seven Seas Explorer® on the 12-night Splendor of Norway itinerary.

Kingfisher Bay (Fraser Island), Australia

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World Heritage sites Like Yellowstone under threat from human activity; Daily Express

Nepal – Chitwan National Park

SOME of the most stunning landscapes in the world, including Yellowstone National Park, are in danger of being destroyed by human activity, according to experts.

More than 100 World Heritage sites could be damaged beyond repair if urgent action isn’t taken to protect them.

World Heritage sites are designated by the UN as places of outstanding universal value which should be protected for future generations.

But urbanisation, farming, industry and deforestation are having an increasing impact on them, according to a team of international experts writing in the journal Biological Conservation.

They found the human footprint increased in 63 percent of National World Heritage Sites (NWHS) across all continents except Europe over the past two decades.

The sites which suffered most were in Asia and include the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in India, and Chitwan National Park in Nepal and Simien National Park in Ethiopia.

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World Heritage Sites are being damaged by human activity; Lea Surugue; IB Times

USA – Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone and other major sites are suffering from a range of human threats and forest loss.

Human activity and forest loss are threatening more than 100 natural World Heritage Sites around the world, scientists have shown. This includes the iconic Yellowstone National Park in the US, which has lost a major part of its forest since the turn of the century.

In 1972, the World Heritage Convention was adopted, paving the way for better protection of the planet’s most valuable natural and cultural resources to safeguard them for future generations. A total of 229 sites are recorded as Natural World Heritage Sites, meaning the landscape is particularly beautiful and important for biodiversity conservation.

In the past decades, human pressures on the natural environment have increased. Agriculture, infrastructure building and urbanization are having a negative impact on biodiversity and threatening many ecosystems.

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Outside a Moorish Café, Tunis, Tunisia; World Digital Library

Tunisia – Medina of Tunis

This photochrome print is part of “Views of Architecture and People in Tunisia” from the catalog of the Detroit Photographic Company. It shows men gathered outside a café in Tunis. Such cafés offered men pleasant shaded spots to be sociable. It is interesting that one of the individuals deep in conversation is dressed in European clothing, which indicates that the clientele at the end of the 19th century was somewhat diverse. Tunisia was occupied by the French in 1881 and administered as a protectorate in which the nominal authority of local government was recognized. Europeans at one time made up half the population in Tunis. Rapid redevelopment of the city occurred as the French built new boulevards, neighborhoods, and infrastructure and the city became divided into a traditional Arab-populated medina and a new quarter populated by immigrants.

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See and enjoy southern Italy; Martin Roddewig; DW Travel

Italy – The Trulli of Alberobello

Naples, Capri, Sicily – these holiday destinations evoke a yearning for Italy in tourists. The area around Bari however is still untouched by tourism – something that is bound to change by 2019 at the latest.

“It’s best to arrive at midday,” our hotel owner informs us. Bari is a perfect starting point to discover the Apulia and Basilicata regions, which are in the “heel” of boot-shaped Italy. Even though over two million people pass through the city’s ferry port, Bari remains very much untouched by tourism and still adheres to the southern Italian rhythm of daily life. At midday the city belongs to visitors. Occasionally a cat will languidly gaze out from of a doorway, and once in a while you might spot a tourist or even two.

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More than half the world’s most important natural sites are under threat: it’s time to protect them; James Watson, James Allan & Sean Maxwell; The Conversation

Ethiopia – Simien National Park

Would we knock down the pyramids or flatten the Acropolis to make way for housing estates, roads or farms? You would hope not. Such an indictment would deprive future generations of the joy and marvel we all experience when visiting or learning about such historic places.

Yet right now, across our planet, many of the United Nations’ World Heritage sites that have been designated for natural reasons are being rapidly destroyed in the pursuit of short-term economic goals.

In our paper published in Biological Conservation, we found that expanding human activity has damaged more than 50 of the 203 natural sites, and 120 have lost parts of their forests over the past 20 years. Up to 20 sites risk being damaged beyond repair.

So how can we better look after these precious sites?

Jewels in the crown

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