ALEXANDER SELKIRK ISLAND
Alejandro Selkirk Island is part of the Juan Fernandez archipelago. The island itself was renamed in 1966 after the marooned sailor who served as the template for Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe, although Alejandro Selkirk was a castaway on the island Mas a Tierra, today named Robinson Crusoe Island. Alejandro Selkirk is located 165 kilometres west of the other islands in the archipelago. Throughout much of its history, the island has been uninhabited, although there is a former penal settlement on the middle of the east coast, which operated from 1909 to 1930.
During the summer months, Selkirk welcomes a small community of lobster fishermen and their families who come from Robinson Crusoe. As part of the Chilean National Park, it also holds the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve title. The island is home to a number of rare and endangered plant and animal species. One of those iconic species—the Masafuera Rayadito—is found only on Selkirk; its global population numbers in the low hundreds and it is of particular interest to researchers and those looking to prevent species extinctions.