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NASA photo of Farquhar Atoll
|Area||7.99 km2 (3.08 sq mi)|
The atoll is located at. It is the most southerly part of the Seychelles.
The atoll was named in honour of Robert Townsend Farquhar in 1824. Earlier visitors had named it after Portuguese explorer João da Nova who commanded that nation’s third expedition to India during which he encountered Farquhar (in 1504). Administration of the atoll was a grey area for many years, with both Mauritius and Seychelles claiming the right to administer it. In 1881 the authorities in Seychelles suggested Farquhar, along with several other outer islands, be administered from Victoria in Seychelles rather than from Mauritius. There were objections as the owners were based in Mauritius but after considerable argument, the owners lost their case and administration was passed from Mauritius to Seychelles.
The total area of the atoll, including the large lagoon, is 170.5 square kilometres (65.8 sq mi). The land area is 7.5 square kilometres (2.9 sq mi).
Farquhar Atoll is notable for its high sand dunes, some of which reach to over 10 metres (33 ft) in height.
Farquhar Atoll islands
The main group of islands form a long curve which describes the eastern side of the atoll. Largest of these are Ile du Nord and Ile du Sud, with the smaller Manaha islands between them. Farther south is Goelettes.
To the open western side of the atoll lies the small group known as Trois Îles.
- The atoll consists of
- Île du Nord
- Île du Sud
- Manaha Îles
- Manaha Nord
- Manaha Milieu
- Manaha Sud
- Trois Îles
- Île de Milieu
- Bancs de Sable
Flora and Fauna
The islets of Farquhar (excluding North, South and the Manahas) have been designated as an Important Bird Area. Goëlettes is the most interesting for birds with a huge seasonal colony of about 200,000-400,000 pairs of sooty tern and around 10,000 pairs of brown noddy. In 2006, Island Conservation Society recorded a previously unknown colony of black-naped terns at Bancs de Sable. with 10-20 breeding pairs, the largest population on any one island in the region. Black-naped terns also breed on Goëlettes.
Farquhar is also an important nesting site for turtles. Surveys conducted in the early 1980s when adult turtles were intensively hunted estimated 400-450 nesting green turtle females and 20-35 hawksbill turtles per annum. A survey conducted in 2007 suggests increases in nesting numbers thanks to the protected status of turtles in Seychelles since 1994. Other fauna of interest includes the gold-dust gecko and coconut crab. In 2014 Island Conservation Society opened a Conservation Centre on North Island.
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- Kevin Shillington, Albert Rene: The Father of Modern Seychelles, a Biography (2014), p. 18.