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re typical of island ecosystems. The natural processes take place with minimal human interference and can be clearly demonstrated in their full complexity; and Criterion (x): Aldabra provides a natural laboratory for the study of the process of evolutionary ecology and is a platform for key scientific discovery. The atoll constitutes a refuge harboring viable populations of a range of rare and endangered species of plants and animals. These include the last giant tortoise and flightless bird populations of the Western Indian Ocean, a substantial marine turtle breeding population, and large seabird colonies which number in the tens of thousands. The substantial tortoise population is self-sustaining and all the elements of its inter-relationship with the terrestrial environment are evident. BirdLife International declared Aldabra as an Important Endemic Bird Area (IBA) in 2001 on account of its large seabird colonies under categories A1, A2, A
4i, A4ii and A4iii, covering an area of 33,180 hectares (82,000 acres) overlapping with the special reserve area of 35,000 hectares (86,000 acres) of Aldabra Atoll. Aldabra became a Ramsar Wetland Site of International Importance in 2010. Covering 25,100 ha (over half the area of the whole atoll) the wetland ecosystem of Aldabra include the extensive shallow lagoon inside the atoll, which is carpeted with lush seagrass beds and patchy coral reefs, the intertidal mud flats, the coral reefs outside the lagoon, freshwater pools, beaches, and 2000 ha of mangrove stands. These wetlands support several endangered species including the increasing number of turtles at the atoll, dugongs and many other bird, fish and invertebrate species. Aldabra was designated as a site under the Indian Ocean South East Asia (IOSEA) turtle network, in their 2014 conv