Palm Islands Nature Reserve
- Site number:1079
- Area:415 ha
- Designation date:03-08-2001
- Coordinates:34°30'N 35°46'E
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Palm Islands Nature Reserve. 03/08/01; Tripoli; 415 ha; 34°30'N 035°46'E. Nature Reserve. The Reserve consists of a group of three flat rocky islands of eroded limestone, with associated outcrops and surrounding waters, rising from 1 to 12 meters above the sea about 5.5km northwest of Tripoli. The islands' beaches support the endangered Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta during nesting and breeding, and the critically endangered Green turtle Chelonia mydas occurs infrequently but regularly in surrounding seas. The endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus was seen regularly until recent years but only very rarely since. The many caves and sheltered coastal rocks provide an important spawning ground for fish, and some 42 species of migratory birds (include 6 IUCN Red List species) feed and rest on the islands before moving on to the Lebanese mainland for breeding. During winter, freshwater is found in inland pools; a single well, built at the time of the Crusades and associated with archaeological remains of a Crusader church from AD 1224, yields potable water but is overextracted, increasing groundwater salinity. Alteration of the vegetation cover by a proliferation of rabbits (14 of which were introduced "by a misguided environmentalist in 1984") is seen as a threat to the biodiversity. Declared a Nature Reserve in 1992, visitors have been permitted for guided tours and swimming between July and September since 1998. Ramsar site no. 1079. Most recent RIS information: 2001.
- National legal designation:
- nature reserve - Palm Islands
- Last publication date:15-09-2011