Aldabra atoll is 400 km from the nearest mainland. There is little soil, practically no fresh water, no guano, no phosphate, no deep-water anchorage. The jagged coral can quickly tear shoes, and feet, to ribbons. The atoll is an inhospitable and even dangerous place. And therein lays its value to science. Over the centuries Aldabra has proved unattractive to sailors, fishermen, settlers and commercial interests. No other Indian Ocean island - and few islands anywhere in the world - has been spared human interference for so long.
Aldabra harbors a colony of 100,000 giant tortoises, endemic birds, insects, plants, coral reefs and fish that have survived as part of a unique ecological system undistorted by Man. This system was threatened with destruction in 1966, when Aldabra was still part of the British Indian Ocean Territory. Plans to build an airstrip for use by the British and American military were only abandoned after worldwide protests from conservation and research organisations, led in Great Britain by the Royal Society and in the United States by the Smithsonian Institution. As soon as the atoll came under threat, the Royal Society mounted a systematic programme of research in Aldabra and this continued when the atoll became part of the independent Republic of the Seychelles in 1976.
"An ideal location for the scientific study of evolutionary processes in a relatively closed biotic environment."
U.S. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, 1967
The preservation of Aldabra's unique ecosystem depends on international support. The atoll and its research station are managed by the Seychelles Islands Foundation a public trust established to safeguard the treasures of Aldabra and promote its use purely for research and education. SIF can fulfil this purpose with your support.