Shark Bay, Australia

Tourists observing a wild Dolphin in Shark Bay, Western Australia. rel=
Tourists observing a wild Dolphin in Shark Bay, Western Australia.
© WWF-Canon / James W. THORSELL
Fossils live on while dugong graze in vast seagrass meadows.
What & Where?
Shark Bay is located on the most westerly point of the Australian continent, over 800 km. north of Perth. It has a coastline of about 1500 km and a population of about a 1,000 people who occupy less than 1% of its total area.

Why?
The Bay, which covers an area of 10,000 sq. km., is an area of major zoological importance. It is famous for its dugong (sea cow) population, and bottlenose dolphins at Monkey Mia.

Shark Bay has the largest known area of seagrass, with seagrass meadows covering over 4,800 km² of the bay. It includes the 1,030 km² Wooramel Seagrass Bank, the largest seagrass bank in the world.

Hamelin Pool
in the south of the bay, contains the largest deposits of living fossils on the planet, called stromatolites (colonies of algae which form hard, dome-shaped deposits and are among the oldest forms of life on earth) that are over 3,000 years old. The pool contains the most diverse and abundant examples of stromatolite forms in the world.

The Shark Bay was inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1991 for its exceptional natural features.

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