Globally threatened species
occurring at the site include the turtles (Chelonia mydas)
and (Eretmochelys imbricata), and the Cocos Buff-Banded Rail
(Rallus philippensis andrewsi), both are threatened globally
and endemic. The Cocos subspecies of pandanus (Pandanus tectorius)
is considered endemic, as well. The Cocos Islands were the only
coral islands visited by Charles Darwin in 1836 and would have
witnessed on Pulu Keeling the tall forest of Pisonia (Pisonia
grandis), stands of coconut and ironwood (Cordia subcordata).
The endangered turtle (Chelonia mydas) are found nesting mainly
to the north-western and southern beaches of Pulu Keeling.
There have been recorded 25 bird species, 17 of which use the
atoll for nesting. Pulu Keeling also has one of the few significant
rookeries left in the world for the red-footed booby (Sula sula).
Other species include terns (Gygis alba and Sterna fuscata),
boobies (Sula dactylatra and S. leucogaster),
frigate birds (Fregata ariel and F. minor), noddy (Anous
stolidus), and tropic birds (Phaethon rubricauda and P.
Crab (Cardisoma carnifex) are also found all over
the islands, particularly in the saltmarsh and on the fringes of the
lagoon. The Giant Robber Crab (Birgus latro), considered
vulnerable to extinction internationally, inhabit the Pisonia forest floor.
The Little Nipper (Geograpsus grayi) is common in the Pisonia
forest. There are also three species of hermit crabs, the Red Hermit
Crab (Coenobita perlata), the Purple Hermit Crab (C.
brevimana) and the Tawny Hermit Crab (C. rugosa). Other
crabs include the Yellow Nippers (Geograpsus crinipes), the
Red Crab (Gecarcoidea natalis), the Horn-Eyed Ghost Crab (Ocypode
ceratophthalma) and the Grapsus (Grapsus tenuicrustatis).
Over 520 species of fish are recorded in the Cocos Islands
region, of which about 175 are lagoon species.
Cocos Islands also
played a significant role during World War II, as a base for
Australian forces. Pulu Keeling was the site of the grounding of the
German battleship Emden after its confrontation with the HMAS
Sydney during World War I. The wreck of the SMS Emden is
protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.
Source: Parks Australia -
Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Pulu Keeling National Park
Ramsar Sites Database - Wetlands International -