The wildlife and environment of the British Indian Ocean Territory are exceptional. The Territory has the greatest marine biodiversity in the UK and its Overseas Territories, as well as some of the cleanest seas and healthiest reef systems in the world. BIOT is home to the world’s biggest arthropod, the coconut crab, which can reach up to one metre across, with densities on Diego Garcia amongst the highest globally. The outer islands and atolls are colonized by internationally important numbers of seabirds, with many thousands of pairs of sooty terns, brown boobies and red-footed boobies regularly breeding there. Endemic species of coral and reef fish inhabit the c. 4,000 km² of shallow coral reefs, which also support over six times the amount of fish that are found on any other Indian Ocean reef.
Please see our Interim Conservation Management Framework.
The BIOT Administration encourages research science to explore this untapped and as yet largely scientifically undocumented area.
The Administration also strongly encourages those working on Diego Garcia to take an interest in the environment of the Territory and to actively look after it. There are opportunities for personnel in the Territory to get involved in restoration and clean-up work and to learn about BIOT’s natural treasures. As part of the ongoing environmental messaging, BIOTA have produced a film, as well as other printed matter, which is shown to everyone stationed on the island.