Cool fact…
Adult male southern elephant seals can weigh up to 4000 kg!

Protection and management

Located in the Southern Ocean, many thousands of kilometres from the nearest significant human population, Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) has a fair amount of natural protection from the potentially harmful effects of human activities.

The extreme isolation and severe climate have meant that environmental disturbance, associated with human visitation, has been minimal, resulting in the HIMI region being one of the most biologically pristine areas in the world.

There are, however, some human activities focussed on the islands and in the surrounding waters and, as a consequence, a need to manage these activities in order to protect and maintain the outstanding values of the region. In fact, formal measures to protect the region have a history that stretches back to the 1950s, long before environmental protection and management became commonplace in many parts of the world.

This section of the website, Protection and Management, explains the management responsibilities for the HIMI region, outlines the main pressures on the conservation values, provides information about the HIMI Marine Reserve and the HIMI World Heritage area, and explains the legislative and administrative framework for management, including the management plan.

If you are interested in visiting Heard Island please see our summary of the requirements of the Management Plan.

This page was last updated on 28 February 2005.