Guadalupe Island

Guadalupe Island or Isla Guadalupe is a volcanic island located 241 km (150 mi) off the west coast of Mexico‘s Baja California Peninsula in the Pacific Ocean. According to Seacology’s website, Guadalupe Island is a biosphere reserve.

NASA satellite image
Not to be confused with Guadeloupe of the Caribbean.

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Guadalupe is part of Ensenada, a subdivision of the state of Baja California. In 2010, the island had a population of 213 people.

Island map

Guadalupe has a rugged landscape with numerous shield volcanoes. The island measures 35 km (22 mi) north-south and up to 9.5 km (5.9 mi) east-west, with a total area of 244 km2 (94 sq mi).

The southern part of the island is barren, but there are fertile plateaus and trees in the northern part. The coast generally consists of rocky bluffs with detached rocks fronting some of them.

There are also some islets off the coast of Guadalupe Island, such as Islote Afuera and Islote Adentro.

Guadalupe Island was a major destination for Russian and American fur hunters seeking the Guadalupe fur seal in the 18th and 19th centuries, until they were nearly extinct by 1844. The northern elephant seal was also hunted for the oil in its blubber, but managed to survive and the seals remain today.

Goats were brought to the island in the 19th century by European whalers and sealers for provisions when stopping over. Their numbers have fluctuated over the years, peaking at 100,000 and in more recent times being about 20,000.

The island has been a nature conservancy area since 1928, making it one of the oldest reserves in Mexico.

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