The Savage islands have been considered the Atlantic’s most complete ecosystem.
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Haven for thousands of seabirds, mostly Cory’s shearwaters and White-faced storm petrels, the Selvagens islands, in the southernmost point of both Madeira and Portugal, have been considered the Atlantic’s ‘most intact’ ecosystem according to a study carried out by National Geographic between 2015 and 2016.
According to the Oceano Azul Foundation, who in 2015 participated in National Geographic’s ‘Pristine Seas’ expedition, ‘the Selvagens islands stand out for the intact nature they present’. The project assessed the conditions of the sea and found an ecosystem that is ‘vibrant, balanced and with an enormous diversity of fauna and flora’.
According to researchers, the Selvagens Natural Park can be an example of how to protect one of the ‘last wild havens of the planet’ before it becomes ‘too late’ and also allow for the recuperation of species targeted by fishermen and that find themselves in problematic situations in terms of their sustainability.
These are two islands located 300 kilometres to the south of Madeira. Selvagem Pequena is completely uninhabited. Selvagem Grande is inhabited by rangers and members of the Maritime Police, commissioned for this service. There is also a private residence on this island, property of a family in Madeira. Together these islands form Portugal oldest Natural Park, dating back to 1971.
Article written in February 2018. (Issue no. 66, February/March)