Natural attractions in danger: Congo habitat for eastern lowland gorillas

Stunning Images of Natural Attractions and Culture Sites Endangered by Climate Change and Other Threats

Our incredible, imperiled planet risks losing some of its most awe-inspiring natural wonders and cultural treasures due to climate change, conflict, commercial development, and other threats. Endangered Places, a new photo book from London-based publisher Amber Books, highlights more than 100 destinations that are in trouble, from melting polar regions to shrinking rainforests to mighty yet fragile coral reefs. 

Alongside informative text by travel writer Claudia Martin, the book's 180 vibrant photographs feel at once like a call to travel and a call to action, inspiring readers to seek out these astonishing destinations and take steps to help conserve them before it's too late. 

Below, you'll find a selection of images from the book along with captions provided by the publisher.

Pictured above: a young eastern lowland gorilla in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; fewer than 3,800 of the animals remain in the wild, according to Endangered Places

Endangered culture sites: Fallen Roof Ruin at Bears Ears National Monument in Utah
Shutterstock\Colin D. Young
Fallen Roof Ruin at Bears Ears National Monument in Utah

From Endangered Places: "Constructed by the Ancestral Puebloans, Fallen Roof Ruin consists of four rooms, with long-ago handprints on their ceilings. This site, along with countless other archaeological sites in Bears Ears, some dating back to the Clovis culture (circa 11,000 BCE), have faced looting and vandalism." 

Places endangered by climate change: Svalbard archipelago
Shutterstock\Risto Raunio
Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean

From Endangered Places: "Over the last 30 years, the Svalbard archipelago has experienced some of the greatest temperature increases in the Arctic Circle. This has accelerated the melting of landfast sea ice along the islands’ coasts, with an average of about 100 sq. km (39 sq. miles) lost per year. Landfast ice is a key breeding site for seals, while also protecting coasts from erosion."

Places in danger from overtourism: Machu Picchu in Peru
Shutterstock\Russell Johnson
Machu Picchu in Peru

From Endangered Places: "This Inca citadel was probably constructed as a retreat for Emperor Pachacuti (1438–72). The site lies above a bend in the Urubamba River, with sheer cliffs dropping 450m (1,480 ft.) on three sides. Erosion and excessive tourism take their toll on the polished dry-stone temples, palaces, and workers’ homes."

Places most at risk from climate change: Tuvalu in the South Pacific
Shutterstock\Romaine W
Tuvalu in the South Pacific

From Endangered Places: "With a population of 10,500, this coral island country is composed of just 26 sq. km (10 sq. miles) of land. The highest elevation is 4.6m (15 ft.) above sea level. The nation is extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels, with the worst-case prediction being that the islands will become uninhabitable within the next century."

Endangered places: Shibam Hadramawt, Yemen
Shibam Hadramawt, Yemen

From Endangered Places: "Sometimes called the 'Manhattan of the Desert,' Shibam has around 500 mud-brick, high-rise dwellings. The oldest date from the 16th century but have been partly or wholly rebuilt many times since then. They must withstand constant attack from rain and wind, and subsidence from flooding."

Places at risk from climate change: Glacier National Park in Montana
Glacier National Park in Montana

From Endangered Places: "Glacier National Park spans the Continental Divide, protecting around 4,000 sq. km (1,545 sq. miles) of the Rocky Mountains. In 1850, this area held 150 glaciers. Today, just 25 remain. Glaciologists estimate that most will have disappeared by 2030. Changes in water temperature and alpine vegetation have also led to the endangerment of species such as the endemic western glacier stonefly."

Places at risk from overtourism: Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania
Ngorongoro Crater in Arusha, Tanzania

From Endangered Places: "The Ngorongoro caldera, covering 260 sq. km (100 sq. miles), formed when a volcano collapsed 2 to 3 million years ago. At the crater’s center is a seasonal salt lake. Home to the 'Big Five' animals as well as zebras and wildebeest, the crater is under pressure from tourism, with hotel construction around the rim and increasing traffic congestion." 

Natural attractions at risk from climate change: Grey Glacier in Chile
Grey Glacier in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field of Chile

From Endangered Places: "Although in retreat, Grey is over 30m (98 ft.) high and 28km (17 miles) long. It is the largest of the four main glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which covers 16,480 sq. km (6,360 sq. miles) of the southern Andes. The glacier calves icebergs, up to 380m (1,247 ft.) across, into Lago Grey."

Endangered cultural heritage: Preah Khan temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Preah Khan in Siem Reap, Cambodia

From Endangered Places: "This temple, originally Buddhist but later converted to Hinduism, was built on the site of Khmer king Jayavarman VII’s victory over the invading Chams in 1191. Maintenance of the ruins is a continuous battle with jungle vegetation and stone-degrading cyanobacteria—balanced with the risks of falsifying history through guesswork." 

Places at risk from climate change: Belize Barrier Reef
Shutterstock\Globe Guide Media
Belize Barrier Reef

From Endangered Places: "The Belize Barrier Reef has been impacted by mass bleaching events caused by rising sea temperatures. Yet this reef still hosts 70 reef-building hard corals and 36 soft coral species. In 2010, Belize became the first country to ban bottom trawling. Then, in 2015, offshore oil drilling within 1km (0.6 miles) of the reef was banned."

Natural attractions in danger from climate change: "snow monsters" in northern Japan
Shutterstock\Krishna Wu
"Snow Monsters" on Mount Zao in Japan

From Endangered Places: "From December to March, juhyo (snow monsters) can form on the snow- and ice-covered firs of the Zao volcano in northern Japan. The Zao Juhyo Festival celebrates these monster-like formations with fireworks and projections. Yet winter temperatures in Yamagata have risen by 2° C (3.6° F) since 1910, narrowing the window when juhyo can form."

Cover of "Endangered Places" (Amber Books Ltd)
Amber Books Ltd

All preceding images were taken from the book Endangered Places ($29.99) by Claudia Martin, published by Amber Books Ltd and available from bookshops and online booksellers.