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Ilhas Selvagens

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Factsheet filled with data from European diploma data set

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Manager Mr. COSTA NEVES Henrique Directeur Regia Autonoma da Madeira, Governo Regional Parque Natural da Madeira Quinta do Bom Sucesso Caminho do Meio P-9050 Funchal Tel.: +10 351 91 231 101 / 222 266 Fax.: +10 351 91 222 589
Information Parque Natural da Madeira Regia Autonoma da Madeira, Governo Regional Quinta do Bom Sucesso Caminho do Meio P-9050 Funchal
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General character of the site The archipelago of the Selvagens, in the Atlantic, consists of two groups of small islands, of which the three most important are Selvagem Grande, Selvagem Pequena and Ilhéu de Fora. The islands were officially discovered by the Portuguese in the fifteenth century, and all attempts to colonise them were thwarted. They are extremely inhospitable and are still uninhabited today. From a botanical point of view, Selvagem Pequane and Ilhéu de Fora remain untouched, a situation unique in the Atlantic. Zoologically speaking, they are a genuine sanctuary for pelagic birds in the sub-tropical area of the North Atlantic. Owing to the characteristics already mentioned, the archipelago is of exceptional scientific interest; it is a natural heritage whose value goes beyond national boundaries. For cultural and scientific reasons, the Portuguese Government acquired the islands in 1991and designated the area as a fully protected national reserve. 
Documentation Council of Europe - European Diploma Series N° 36 (1993), Selvagens Islands Nature Reserve Portugal, Strasbourg, 20 p. 
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Geomorphology The Selvagens are of volcanic origin. On Selvagem Grande, the porous scoria breaks up, making a cracked surface of a vitrous and nicrolitic nature. It is thus very arid and the greys and browns of hard basalt dominate. 
Educational interest Research and conservation work on birds which nest in the Selvagens was started in 1963 thanks to the dedication of a Madeiran ornithologist, Paul Alexandre Zino. 
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