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As the "Galapagos of the Indian Ocean," Socotra, a small island off the coast of Yemen, is a biodiversity hotspot. According to UNESCO, 37% of Socotra's plant species, 90% of its reptile species and 95% of its land snail species are endemic only to Socotra.
Many of the indigenous Soqotri people are worried that the United Arab Emirates’ military operations in Socotra amount to covert colonization of the island, and while Socotra has largely been spared from the war ravaging Yemen, UAE military and development projects may pose a threat to biodiversity and the Soqotri’s sustainable way of life. Yemen’s tenuous hold on the island is being overtly challenged by both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and the people living there are caught in the middle.
Cover image from Atlas Obscura


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