Unique Wildlife In British Overseas Territories
The British Overseas Territories are fourteen territories of the United Kingdom which, although they do not form part of the United Kingdom itself, fall under its jurisdiction. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not acquired independence. The name "British Overseas Territory" was introduced by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, and replaced the name British Dependent Territory, which was introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981. Before 1981, the territories were known as colonies or Crown colonies.
ARKive: unique wildlife in the British Overseas Territories
ARKive, an initiative of the UK charity Wildscreen, aims to create an audio-visual library of all animal and plant species on earth. This year, with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, it is focusing on species found in the British Overseas Territories, many of which are endangered. Pictured is the beautiful queen triggerfish (balistes vetula) which lives in the coral reefs of Bermuda.
The endangered Barbary macaque (macaca sylvanus) is the only primate, humans excepted, to live in Europe, and the only macaque which lives outside Asia. 200 of them live on the Rock of Gibraltar.
The ctenella coral (ctenella chagius) is found in the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian ocean. The coral reefs of the British Indian Ocean Territory cover around 4,000 square kilometres, one and a half per cent of the total global area of coral reefs.
The Anegada ground iguana (cyclura pinguis) is only found on the island of Anegada in the British Virgin Islands. It is a critically endangered species, with no more than 200 thought to be alive.
The West Indian whistling duck (dendrocygna arborea) is found throughout the Caribbean, particularly in the wetlands of the Turks and Caicos. Often hunted for sport, or for its eggs, it is extremely endangered.
The Cayman Island blue iguana (cyclura lewisi) is one of the most endangered lizards on the globe. There are believed to be no more than 25 in the wild.
Anguilla, in the Leeward Islands, plays host to the Leeward Island racer (alsophis rijersmai), one of the most endangered and rare snakes in the Lesser Antilles.
The black-browed albatross (thalassarche melanophrys) is also an endangered species. 60 per cent of the population is found on the Falkland islands in the South Atlantic.
This curious-looking creature is definitely not endangered. The Antarctic krill (euphausia superba) is one the most abundant organisms to be found in the Antarctic, playing a central role in the food chain as prey for penguins, whales and seals.
The "mountain chicken" (leptodactylus fallax), also known as the giant ditch frog, is a critically endangered species native only to the Caribbean islands of Dominica and Montserrat. Hunting, habitat loss, and outbreaks of fungal disease have wiped out much of the population.
The king penguin (aptenodytes patagonicus) is found in the sub-Antarctic, on islands including South Georgia and the South Sandwich islands.
The endangered Henderson petrel (pterodroma atrata) breeds only on Henderson island, one of the four Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
The black cabbage tree (melanodendron integrifolium) is found on the South Atlantic island of St Helena. Only around 1000 trees are said to remain.
The Akrotiri salt lake in the British Sovereign Base Area of Cyprus is home in winter to around 30,000 greater flamingos (phoenicopterus roseus). They are also found in Gibraltar.