• IN DANGER OR NOT:Last year, UNESCO released its “List of World Heritage in Danger” comprising 55 entries, including several natural wonders. Though this list did not include the Great Barrier Reef, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee expressed its concern about the Reef’s future. Under global criticism for not doing enough to protect the Reef, the Australian government received the news with much relief, termed it a “big win” and deemed the decision a support for its conservation efforts. Meanwhile, the decision to leave out the Reef from the list dismayed and perplexed several conservationists, including many who pointed to the Australian government neither cutting fossil fuels subsidy nor banning new coal mines.

• A CORALLIVORE:One of the most destructive sea creatures of the region is the crown-of-thorns starfish, a corallivore that munches its way through the coral, destroying them on a large scale. This fish is native to the Reef, but their numbers can increase to leave behind devastation. In 2017, thousands of these star fish were discovered on Swain Reefs – located on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef – and volunteer divers are said to have culled several thousands of them in an operation that lasted more than a week.

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