17 stunning photos of the Great Barrier Reef that just might inspire you to save it.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one spectacular (and sometimes scary, but always beautiful) place.

1. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a lion fish. Gorgeous, but dangerous. All images via iStock.

I mean, just look at it…

2. Don’t you want to jump right in?

It’s unlike any other reef in the world.

The Great Barrier Reef the largest coral reef on Earth actually comprises more than 3,000 smaller reef systems and hundreds of islands.

World Heritage status is the United Nations’ way of deeming a certain place or human creation as having significant cultural or physical value to humanity. National Geographic perfectly explains why the reef has been designated as such:

“The most riveting sight of all and the main reason for World Heritage status is the vast expanse of coral, from staghorn stalks and wave-smoothed plates to mitt-shaped boulders draped with nubby brown corals as leathery as saddles. Soft corals top hard ones, algae and sponges paint the rocks, and every crevice is a creature’s home. The biology, like the reef, transforms from the north where the reef began to the south. The shifting menagerie is unmatched in the world.”

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/17-stunning-photos-of-the-great-barrier-reef-that-just-might-inspire-you-to-save-it?c=tpstream