Sir Ernest Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds has been designated one of the Earth's 100 most endangered sites.
The remote wooden hut was included in the 2004 World Monument Fund's Watch list released in New York 25 September 2003.
The 100 sites on the list, considered to be the world's most imperiled historic architectural and cultural treasures, were selected by a panel of international experts. The Watch List of the World Monument Fund serves to being public attention to these sites and helps raise funds for their rescue.
World Monument Fund President Bonnie Burnham noted that this was the first time an Antarctic site had been selected for the World Monument Fund listing, and said "The Watch list includes sites ranging from ancient cities, to modern industrial buildings, to religious and civic structures, to entire landscapes. Inclusion on the list is often the only hope of survival for these threatened cultural monuments."
The Cape Royds hut was nominated by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust. The Trust was supported by the NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage, who have already provided core funding for the hut's conservation. The listing comes soon after significant funding from the prestigious US based Getty Grant program.
The NZ Antarctic Heritage Trust's Executive Director Nigel Watson said "This listing highlights the international significance of this important site. New Zealand has taken a strong leadership role in caring for this part of the world's cultural heritage."
Built in 1908 for Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition, the Cape Royd's hut is one of only a few intact wooden buildings built by the original inhabitants of the Antarctic continent.
The NZ Antarctic Heritage Trust was established in 1987 to protect the four historic huts in the Ross Sea region. A major Heritage Restoration project to save the huts from continuing decay was launched by Princess Anne in 2002.
In March 2003 a detailed Conservation Report for the Cape Royd's hut was launched by the New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
"This is a world-leading heritage project in a remote environment", said Nigel Watson.
"The challenge now is to appeal to the international community to fund the remaining US$2.6 million needed to implement the work to conserve Shackleton's hut and its remarkable contents."