Isolated Socotra, 220 miles from mainland Yemen, is home to a panoply of strange plants and animals uniquely adapted to the hot, harsh, windswept island. Above: A desert rose anchors itself on the Maalah cliffs, in the company of more than 300 other rare plant species on Socotra. In the distance lies Qulansiyah, one of the island’s largest towns. Image ©Mark W. Moffet / National Geographic
Image ©Michael Melford / National Geographic
Botanical icon of Socotra, the dragon’s blood tree uses its upraised branches to grab moisture from highland mists. Conservationists fear that poor reproduction threatens the species’ future.
The images are from the June edition of National Geographic magazine for iPad, available on the App Store.
Dragon’s blood forests are nearly devoid of seedlings and young trees. Some scientists blame a lack of water caused by a decrease in seasonal cloud cover—and predict that many stands could disappear within a century.
Dazzling white sand dunes stretch for miles in places along Socotra’s southern coastline, here at Aomak beach. Extremely high winds during the monsoon season constantly reshape the dunes.
A brown booby lands on the western coast. At least ten kinds of seabirds breed on Socotra or the small islands around it, making the archipelago a regionally significant home for them.