The French Southern and Antarctic Lands is an Overseas Territory of France.
Due to their isolation, the French islands in the southern Indian Ocean comprise one of the last remaining large wilderness areas on Earth. Furthermore, the islands are positioned along the Antarctic Convergence, where upwelling creates nutrient-rich waters. As a result, birds and marine mammals gather on the islands in great abundance. More than 50 million birds of 47 species breed on the islands, including more than half the breeding population of 16 different species. The largest populations of king penguins and the endangered Indian yellow-nosed albatross on Earth are found on the Crozet Islands and Amsterdam Island, respectively. Other threatened bird species with important populations on the islands include Eaton's pintail, MacGillivray's prion, and the Amsterdam albatross, which is one of four bird species endemic to the island group. The French Southern Lands also hold the second largest population of southern elephant seals on Earth, numbering roughly 200,000, and the third largest population of the Antarctic fur seal.
Because of their isolation and subpolar location, the French Southern Lands are relatively depauperate of vegetation, which both Saint-Paul and Crozet having no native tree or shrub species. However, eight of the 36 higher plant species are endemic. Some species of endemic invertebrates have also been recorded on the islands, including moths and flies which have lost their wings in the absence of predators.