National Wildlife Refuge
Susan Silander, Project Leader
Caribbean Islands NWR Complex
P.O. Box 510
Boqueron, PR 00622
Phone: 787/851 7258
Fax: 787/255 6725
* Established: 1976.
* Acres: 360.
* Location: the island is located 14
miles from the west coast of
* Administered under Caribbean
Islands NWR complex.
* Desecheo island has seen many
custodians over the years,
including Spain, Puerto Rico, the
U.S. military (bombing and
survival training), National
Institute of Health (introduced
rhesus monkeys for medical
research), and the Fish and
* At one time, the largest Brown
booby nesting colony in the
world; today, no seabird nesting
takes place on the island.
* The native forest (which includes
the endangered Higo Chumbo
cactus) has been severely
degraded by introduced rats,
goats, and monkeys.
Financial Impact of Refuge
* No staff.
* No visitors annually.
To restore and protect historic
seabird colonies and natural island
* Law enforcement.
* Feral animal control.
* Bird and plant surveys.
Questions and Answers
/s the refuge open to the public?
No, this island refuge is closed for
public safety reasons, due to the
presence of unexploded
If the refuge is closed to the public,
why do dive boat operators take
Federaljurisdiction does not include
waters surrounding the island.
Trespass on the refuge itself would be
handled by Federal law
Why was the refuge established?
The refuge was established in 1912 to
protect several colonies of nesting
seabirds including the world's largest
Brown booby colony. Seabird nesting
has virtually disappeared from the
island due to past military bombing,
illegal hunting, fires, and the
introduction of goats, rats and nest
predating rhesus monkeys.