The Socotra archipelago lies in the northwest Indian Ocean, close to the mouth of the Gulf of Aden. The archipelago comprises three islands: Socotra, Abd Alkuri, and Samha altogether covering a total of 1,584.7 square miles. The area consists of 12 terrestrial and 25 marine nature sanctuaries.
Included on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2008, the Socotra archipelago has worldwide importance in terms of biodiversity conservation.
Socotra is particularly important for the diversity of its plants; it has 825 species of plants, 307 of which are endemic (found nowhere else on Earth). Due to its dry climate and the small size of its islands, the archipelago has low terrestrial animal life with the exception of reptiles. It is also rich in bird life. The archipelago has a population of over 1,000 Egyptian vultures which is the largest concentration of the species in the world. This species is in serious decline on a worldwide scale; this vulture was classified as 'endangered' on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2007. The island is also home to six species of endemic birds and ten endemic subspecies, and four endangered species of turtles can be found in the surrounding area.
The 283 species of coral include African and Arabic species, and the reefs are less damaged than most reefs in the Indian Ocean. 85% of the Red Sea's reef-building corals, 75% of coral species and 70% of coastal fish families are to be found on the Socotra archipelago.
The Socotra archipelago is incredibly important for the survival of marine diversity within the Arabic region.
Jaeger-LeCoultre invites you to see the photographs and videos taken on the Socotra archipelago, available on the New York Times website from 17 October.