Narcondam Island

Date of Submission: 15/04/2014
Criteria: (viii)(ix)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Coordinates: N13 27 53 E94 16 41
Ref.: 5914

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Narcondam Island is a 6.8 km² oceanic island of volcanic origin located about 240 km northeast of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, in the Bay of Bengal. The boundaries are clearly defined, being an isolated island.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Narcondam is unique for the occurrence of the endemic Narcondam Hornbill (Aceros narcondami), which is found only in Narcondam. This Narcondam hornbill has the smallest range among the 31 species of Asian hornbills (Kinnaird and O'Brien 2007). The species is recognised as endangered in the IUCN Red List and is protected under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act of India granting it the highest level of protection in Indian Laws.

Criterion (viii): The stratovolcanic Narcondam Island represented with porphyritic dacite, amphibole–andesite and andesite, is a dormant inner arc volcano of the active Andaman–Java Subduction Complex in the Andaman Sea, and an outstanding example representing major stages of earth's history, with significant geomorphic features.

Criterion (ix): Narcondam is an outstanding example of ongoing ecological and evolutionary processes. The Narcondam Hornbill evolved as an endemic because of the isolation provided by the island. Apart from the Narcondam Hornbill, the island also provides habitat for the Andaman Scops Owl, Nicobar Bat, Andaman Dwarf gecko and Andaman day gecko, all of which are species endemic to the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands.

Criterion (x): Narcondam Island is a site which is extremely important for the in-situ conservation of species which represent unique evolutionary history and species endemism. This is only the site which is inhabited by the Narcondam Hornbill (Aceros narcondami), a distinct Hornbill species, as well as several other species which are representative of the unique biome of the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The Narcondam Island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International and the Bombay Natural History Society (Islam and Rahmani, 2004). The property is managed in accordance with a management plan. The property is an isolated island and is uninhabited except for a security post, and therefore is naturally safeguarded. The property has also been notified as Sanctuary under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 granting is further protection. A significant geographic feature of this island is an imprint of magma mixing in the inner arc of the Andaman–Java subduction system (Pal et al, 2007).

Comparison with other similar properties

The property can be compared to the following World Heritage Sites:

  • The Sundarbans, Bangladesh. Inscription: 1997, criteria: ix x
  • The Sundarbans, UK. Inscription: 1995, criteria: vii x

The property can be compared to the following Tentative List Sites:

  • The Eastern Arc Coastal Forests (Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Shimba Hills National Reserve, Kenya
    Submission: 2010, criteria: x
  • Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary (LEWS) and Batang Ai National Park (BANP), Malaysia
    Submission: 2004, criteria: vii ix x

Compared to all the above properties, this is a unique property which is the only home of the IUCN Red listed Narcondam Hornbill (Aceros narcondami) in the world. It is a very small habitat for this threatened bird. However, even though tiny in size, the property represents abundance of this endemic bird along with other bird and animal species.