Borneo pigmy elephants.
Photo by grumpydiver
There are some places on Earth that will be around for future generations to see, others won't last another 50 years. With this in mind, members of travel website VirtualTourist.com have put together a list of 10 Places to See Before They Disappear.
Wildlife on Borneo, Malaysia
Palm oil plantation proliferation threatens two significant species in Borneo, the orangutan and Borneo pigmy elephant, which are seeing their habitat eroded. While protective laws exist, enforcement is weak and their environment keeps shrinking. Mammals of this size require large areas to find sufficient food and forest area for survival. It is estimated that only 1,500 exist today.
Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
Civita di Bagnoregio is a 2,500-year-old Etruscan town that was founded along an ancient Italian trading route. A violent earthquake in 1695 cut the town off from the neighboring town of Bagnoregio. Since that time, the town has continued to have its limestone cliffs fall into the canyon below and, to make matters worse, this jewel walled city atop a hill is only accessible via a long pedestrian bridge, which is, unfortunately, crumbling. At the present rate of decay, it is uncertain how long the beautiful town will last.
The Amazon, Peru
The modern world is encroaching into some of the more remote places up the Amazon River. While education and modern medicine can be viewed as positives, some aspects of agriculture and forestry are definitely threatening the tribal areas, as well as the wildlife in this part of the world.
S'Gang Gwaii, Gwaii Haanas National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Just off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, north of Vancouver Island, is the abandoned village of S'Gang Gwaii, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although it hasn't been occupied since 1880, this village is an illustration of the way of life for the Haida people. Today, some remains of totem poles and roof beams are intact, while others have already fallen. Many have already deteriorated and will no longer be around in just a few generations.
Aseki Smoked Bodies of Papua New Guinea
For the last several hundred years, the Anga tribe of the Morobe Province Highlands have been the only tribe to practice a form of mummification that involves smoking the bodies. The smoked bodies, an honor reserved only for village warriors, are not interred in a coffin or other form of sealed tomb but are rather mounted in wooden frames and placed on the cliff. From this vantage position the former warriors watch over, guard and protect the present-day villagers. The custom is practiced less and less and because of natural circumstances like weather, there may not be an opportunity to see this interesting practice in the near future.
The Maldives is sinking. This beautiful island nation with crystal clear water and white sandy beaches is sinking due to a combination of rising sea levels and surface erosion. The current average height of the islands is just four feet above sea level and it is projected that a rise of just seven inches could make the Maldives unlivable. Known for some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world, those looking to enjoy this luxurious vacation spot better hurry as extreme climate shifts could cause this wonderful home to 400,000 to disappear.
Makli Historical Monument, Thatta, Pakistan
Makli is one of the world's largest necropolises with more than 100,000 graves. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it dates back 600 to 700 years and is well preserved given its age. Many fear that because of the site's elaborate decorations it is likely to be threatened of thieves. Additionally, rising water levels has scientists believing that it may be flooded by 2060.
Dead Sea, Jordan
The Dead Sea is "dead" because its extreme salinity means nothing lives in it. But it will very soon be even more "dead" because it is evaporating at a rate of around a meter (three feet) a year. Why such a steady and frightening decrease? It is very simple. Not enough water is entering the sea from the River Jordan. The river is used by Israel and, to a lesser extent, Jordan to provide water for irrigation purposes and so the flow is much reduced. If things do not change, this entirely unique area will be destroyed. Even if it does mean that the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah (which, according to local legend, lie under the Dead Sea waters) become visible, it is not enough. If nothing is done, there will be no Dead Sea at all by 2050.
Tribal Areas of Aruanchal Pradesh, India
One does not typically think of India as a tribal country, but the extreme northeastern part of the country has more tribes than any other place in the world. The most well-known might be the Apitani Tribe of the Hiro Valley. Here the older women, in their 50s and 60s, still have the facial tattoos and nose plugs that were part of their culture. This custom is no longer practiced, so when these women pass, this cultural relic will be gone.
(c) 2015 Virtualtourist.com, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
This column was printed in the April 19, 2015 - May 2, 2015 edition.