White spots eating away at the sculptures are softening them to a clay-like consistency and deforming their features

Within a century the emblematic stone figures that guard remote Easter Island could be little more than weathered rectangular blocks, conservation experts are warning – but Britain could be part of the fix.

The giant heads, carved centuries ago by the island’s inhabitants, represent the living ancestors of Easter Island’s Polynesian people – the Rapa Nui – and have brought it Unesco world heritage site status in its Pacific location more than 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile.

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