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Aldabra, along with Desroches and Farquhar, was part of the British Indian Ocean Territory from 1965 until Seychelles' independence in 1976. In the 1960s, as a part of their 'Ocean Island Policy', and to support East of Suez commitments, the British government considered establishing a RAF base on the island and invited the United States to help fund the project in return for shared use of the facility and a settlement of 11 million dollars. Simultaneously (mid-1960s), the British Broadcasting Corporation became interested in Aldabra as a possible site to locate transmitters with which to rebroadcast the BBC Overseas Service (BBC) into the African mainland. The BBC mounted a fact-finding expedition (Expedition Turtle) to assess its suitability for this purpose. The BBC were dependent upon the RAF for developing the atoll as without this their own ambitions would not have been feasible. After an international protest by scientists
(known as 'the Aldabra Affair'), however, the military plans were abandoned and the atoll instead received full protection. The "Environmental lobbyists" under the leadership of Julian Huxley, with the support of the MP Tam Dalyell, got the British venture torpedoed. In 1966, the Minister of Defence Dennis Healey of the British Government had observed that: "As I understand it, the island of Aldabra is inhabited - like Her Majesty's Opposition Front bench - by giant turtles, frigate birds and boobies." Subsequent to the thwarting of plans to establish a military station at Aldabra (which instead focused on Diego Garcia in the Chagos Islands), the Royal Society of London resumed their scientific study of the flora and fauna of the atoll with Professor David Stoddart as the leader. The Royal Society bought the lease of the atoll in 1970 and their research station became functional from 1970. After completion of their assigned work, the Royal Society le
ft and the Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF), a public trust of Seychelles, took over the management and protection of the atoll in 1979. SIF functions under the patronage of the President of Seychelles and Aldabra was declared a Special Nature Reserve in 1981, and a year later it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 19 November 1982. A brass plaque inscribed with the citation "Aldabra, wonder of nature given to humanity by the people of the Republic of Seychelles" is stationed on the atoll. This appreciation befits the atoll which is truly one of the greatest ecologically undisturbed