Nelson Island or Nelsons Island or Legour Island is the northernmost and the easternmost island of the Great Chagos Bank, which is the world's largest coral atoll structure, located in the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The nearest neighbour is Île Boddam in the Salomon Islands.
Nelson Island occupies the only emerging reef structure in the northern fringe of the Great Chagos Bank. This lonely island was discovered by a French explorer, Alexis Legour, in 1820. It seems to have been always uninhabited, even between the 17th and the 20th century when there were coconut plantations in other islands of the Chagos. The island stretches in an East-West direction. Its length is 1.5 km (1 mi) and it is only 200 m (656 ft) wide in its broadest area. Owing to its remoteness there has always been a numerous population of sea turtles in this island. In terms of its geology, detailed photographic images shows evidence of a coral limestone core that has been overlaid by sandy loam. One of the major and evident problems affecting the native wildlife is the significant accumulation of plastic bottles and other assorted debris such as damaged fishnets, shoes as well as an assortment of plastic and polystyrene materials that are washed up by localized ocean currents, winds and sea-storms. Such debris can also be seen in the Google Street View recording of the island, for example see .
Important Bird Area
Nelson Island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. Birds for which the island is of conservation significance include lesser noddies (13,700 breeding pairs) and brown noddies (8300 pairs).
- Griffiths, J.D. ed. 1978-9 Joint Services Expedition to the Chagos Archipelago. MOD Publication, London 1979
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