08 December, 2012

Socotra's Amazing Animals

In Socotra, there is not a single town or village you can call attractive. Most are actually ugly. With trash carelessly thrown about, the Island''s inhabited areas are not pleasing at all. But, that's not what you go for to the Island. It's the natural wonders that will awe and stun you like you have never been before. Be it on land or the sea, you will see a variety of wild life. Many only found here and no where else on Earth. With a wealth of habitat diversity in the waters of the 'Galapagos of the Indian Ocean'; only a few meters under the breathtaking, pristine sea, you can see a variety of fish, shellfish, hard and soft corals, mollusks and algae.

Each sea shell is different and unique from the other. Shells like the above, mother-of-pearl-shell, is sold in some parts of the world. On the Island, they are plenty.
The Archipelago has flourishing coral community. Along the Island's beaches, such a sight as the above, is common.
Few places are as diverse as Socotra. It marine life has about 253 species of reef-building corals, 730 species of coastal fish and 300 species of crab, lobster and shrimp.
The Archipelago, is also rich in coral species. It has about 283 species - the Australian Great Barrier Reef has 400 species.
The fish found in the Island's waters, are of a variety and can be very colorful. 
On the right, I believe is a guinea fowl spotted puffer fish.
As on most beaches of Hadhramaut, crabs are many and common. They are harmless.
Every year, from May until August, Sea Turtles come to nest on the beaches of the Archipelago, just as they do on the beaches of other parts of Hadhramout. The island is one of the main nesting grounds for Loggerhead Turtles. Many times, their eggs are stolen or they are captured for meat. Four species of turtles are found around Socotra: the Green Turtle, the Hawksbill Turtle, the Olive Ridley and the Loggerhead.
The veiled chameleon, or Chamaeleo Calyptratus, is found mainly in Yemen; and in some parts of the Arabian Peninsular.
These type of spiders (Monocentropus Balfouri) are priced by collectors; they are expensive. That's one of the dangers that the unique wildlife of the Island face - collectors who are willing to pay any price, and poachers and smugglers who are cruel enough to supply them.
Above, another unique species of spider found in Soqotra. There are over twenty species of spiders on the Island; most of them are found only on the Island.
At Shoab Beach, it is easy to see such dolphins. Whales, the Sperm Whale in particular, can also be seen around the islands; sometimes, dead ones are washed on to the beaches.
Like on the mainland, the camel is the largest animal found on the Island. Of animals, the camel is the equivalent to a four-wheel-drive or a SUV. It can go almost any where on any terrain. It transports you and your luggage; and it provides you with milk and meat. On the Island, like on the mainland, it is also a priced pocession.

+ More on Sogotra here.
+ More photos of Soqotra on Flickr: here and here  
+ More photos of Socotra on Flickriver: here and here