India's Western Ghats given Unesco World Heritage status

Western Ghats
Image caption The lush mountains are at risk of a biodiversity crisis

The UN's cultural agency, Unesco, has voted to add the Western Ghats of India to the list of World Heritage Sites.

The Western Ghats are a mountain range that runs along the western coast of India.

The mountains cover an area of about 160,000 sq km (61,776 sq miles) stretching from the country's southern tip to Gujarat in the north.

Faced with enormous population pressure, the lush mountains are at risk of a biodiversity crisis.

The forests include non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests and are home to at least 325 globally-threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species, according to Unesco.

The mountains are also recognised as one of the world's eight "hottest hotspots" of biological diversity, and its forests influence the Indian monsoons.

At a meeting in the Russian city of St Petersburg late on Sunday, Unesco delegates decided to give World Heritage Site status to 39 sites of the Western Ghats, reports say.

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