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Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef stretches 2300 kilometers (1400 miles) in the Coral Sea along Australia's northeastern coast.
There are 3,000 coral reefs plus many islets, atolls and coral cays.
The Great Barrier Reef supports 10,000 species including 1500 types of fishes and 200 kinds of birds. Other inhabitants include whales, dolphins and sea turtles.
The sheer beauty of its fish and coral waterscapes draws two million tourists annually who come to see the underwater spectacle via diving, snorkeling and glass-bottom boating.
This complex and delicate eco-system can be easily damaged or even destroyed.
Great Barrier Reef conservationists fear that the large influx of visitors and their collateral effect on pollution are damaging the very natural wonder that people come to celebrate.
Overfishing and pollutants
Culprits include boats, farms, ranches and industry.
An even greater threat
Many scientists see an even greater threat: Global Warming. It's unlikely that the Great Barrier Reef of Australia would survive if the water temperature rose by 5% or so over its current average.