(Persia Digest) – Faror Island, in the Hormuzgan Province of southern Iran, is one of the richest coral reef islands of the Persian Gulf. It is situated to the southwest of Bandar Langeh Port and southeast of Kish Island.

The island’s sandy beaches are one of the best habitats for its turtles to lay their eggs. These huge animals are known as the green turtles of the Persian Gulf. This is also the only place in Iran which is the habitat of a species of mountain deer. A considerable number of migrant birds, some of which are rare and in danger of extinctions, make this island their home in the cold season, such as the fish-eating sea eagle, white-eared bulbul, hoopoe, bee-eaters, laughing dove, and yellow wagtails.

Big Faror has been a protected area under the supervision of the Department of Environment since 1979. The island is covered with dunes and is 145 meters above sea level at its highest point. It is surrounded by deep waters and its coral reef is rich in fish and shellfish. Although it is uninhabited, fishermen from other areas come here for their catch.

Currently, the island has no local inhabitants and is administered by a small number of government officials who live here. But it was inhabited in the past and people earned a living by fishing and pearl diving. The remains of a few water wells, arid farmlands, and dilapidated houses can still be seen around the island.

To the south of Big Faror is a smaller island called Small Faror, or Bani Faror. This is a derivative of the name Faro chosen by the Portuguese for the island after the capital of southern Portugal’s Algarve region during their occupation. Little by little, the name changed to Faror with the passage of time.

The vegetation includes acacia, fig trees, mesquites, oriental hornbeam, and palm trees. The acacia plant on the island depends on the mountain deer for survival. Their digestive system has a characteristic which increases the power of germination in this plant by manifold. When the deer feed on acacia leaves, the seeds they swallow with it grows much stronger once it is back in the soil and a new plant easily grows there.

No other mammals live on the island apart from the deer. But there is wide variety of birds here, including terns, egrets, kestrels, firebirds, brown-necked ravens, skylarks, hoopoes, redtails, yellow wagtails, bee-eaters, and the Eurasian collared doves.

Photos: Seyed Hossein Tahavori/Tasnim

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