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Easter Island, Chile

The World Wildlife Federation lists the one of the most isolated islands on Earth, Easter Island, as “critical/endangered.” The island is located over 2,000 miles off the Chilean coast and known for more than 800 charmingly large monumental statues called moai. The moai are iconic and probably worth seeing in person at some point — but not in 2019, because the island needs a break from the foot traffic. Much of the island is protected within Rapa Nui National Park, and that designation affords legal protection and more importantly the monetary funds to combat invasive species, erosion, forest fires, and tourist-caused destruction. In its prehistory, the island, largely covered by non-native grass now, was extensively covered with trees, ferns, and shrubs — a jungle. The government of Chile has said it plans on ramping up efforts to return this island to its former glory.

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