Aldabra is a raised coral atoll in the Aldabra Group of islands in the Indian Ocean that form part of the Seychelles. The island is more than 700 miles from Mahé and is closer to the coast of Africa and Madagascar. Virtually untouched by humans, with distinctive island fauna, including the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, the island is designated a World Heritage Site. The atoll is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises, numbering some 100,000 individuals. They are also known for their green turtles, hawksbill turtles, hammerhead sharks, mantarays, barracuda, and birds, including the Aldabra rail, the last surviving flightless bird of the Indian Ocean region. The Aldabra Group includes the island of Assumption and the atolls of Astove and Cosmoledo.
Aladabra was designated a World Heritage Site on November 19, 1982, and is administered by the Seychelles Island Foundation based on Mahé. An environmental disaster for the island was averted in the 1960s when the British nearly entered into negotiations with the United States to turn the island into a military air base. The proposal created an international protest by ecologists and their lobbying resulted in military plans abandoned and the wildlife habitat receiving full protection.