Areas allocated to preserve and protect certain animals and plants, or both. They differ from national park, which are largely a place for public recreation, because they are provided exclusively to protect species for their own sake. Endangered species are increasingly being kept in nature reserves to prevent them from extinction, particularly in India, Indonesia and some African countries. Natural reserves were used once to preserve the animals that landowners hunted, but, in the 19th century, they became places where animals were kept to prevent them from dying out. Special refuges and sanctuaries are also often designated to protect certain species or groups of wild animals or plants, especially if their numbers and distribution have been significantly reduced. They also serve as a place for more plentiful species to rest, breed or winter. Many parts of the world also have marine and aquatic reserves to protect different species of sea or freshwater plant and animal life.
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