Which is your favourite protected area?

Hike to the rim of the Grand Canyon in the United States in time for sunset. Watch thousands of wildebeest migrate through the Serengeti and Maasai Mara of Tanzania and Kenya. Swim amid a rainbow of fish on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The world’s national parks offer incredible opportunities to experience nature up close and raw. Some are rightly famous and attract millions of visitors every year. Others are little-known or inaccessible, but no less important in conserving natural and cultural heritage and safeguarding Earth’s life-support systems.

The parks and reserves below are just a few of the new or lesser-known protected areas and wild places across the globe. They surely have their own fans, and we want you to help us add to the list!

Post a photo of your choice on Twitter or Instagram with the #WithNature hashtag and tell us why you love or want to visit that special place. We'll share some of them here and on the UN Environment Twitter and Instagram accounts. If you want to send in the photo directly, please email it with a short description to worldenvironmentday[@]unep.org.

 

Virgin forest in China’s Hubei Shennongjia World Heritage Site.Hubei Shennongjia World Heritage Site, China

 

The largest primary forests in Central China are home to the Chinese giant salamander, the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey and the clouded leopard. Botanists have made research expeditions to this biodiversity hotspot since the 19th Century.

 

Brilliant reef fish as well as green turtles and 14 million seabirds thrive in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, United States

 

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument covers 1.5 million km2 of the North Pacific around the Hawaiian Archipelago, it is three times bigger than Thailand or Spain.

 

Wolves have returned to many parts of Central Europe, including GermanyBrandenburg Wilderness Areas, Germany

 

Authorities have purchased a string of abandoned communist-era military ranges and left them to the whim of unfettered nature. Endangered species such as the grey wolf and the European otter have returned to these mosaics of sandy heath, forest and wetland.

 

In the bird-rich wetlands of Northern Kazakhstan, greater flamingos are a particular highlight.Saryarka – Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan

 

The wetlands of the first World Heritage Site in Central Asia are vital to migratory birds such as the Siberian white crane and the Dalmatian pelican. The steppes are a refuge for over half of the region’s flora and the critically endangered Saiga antelope.

 

A mackerel in the Palau orchipelago, where a vast new marine sanctuary protects fish stocksPalau National Marine Sanctuary

 

The tiny Pacific archipelago has created a marine sanctuary of 500,000 km2 - twice the size of Mexico. Palau hopes banning fishing and mineral prospecting will protect its vital tourism industry.