Grimshaw bought the island for a meager £8,000 in 1962. An adventurer with a love of nature and travel, he had always wanted an island to call his own, and was very attracted to the beautiful spots in Seychelles, window shopping for years throughout the smattering of Indian Ocean islands.
Moyenne Island, once an unkempt brush pile, is now home to 16,000 plants and trees, mahogany, palm, mango, and pawpaw that he painstakingly transferred to attract the host of native birds that flocked from neighboring islands. Nature paths wind in and out of the plant life, leaving room for visitors to explore, and explore they may, as long as they remember that the tortoises have the right of way.
A reptilian version of a crazy cat lady, Grimshaw transported and bred roughly 120 tortoises onto the island, and they roam freely, many of them likely to have been destroyed on the other islands by development and careless humans. While under Grimshaw’s care, they flourished. Even today, visitors are reminded of whose home they are actually guests in by a sign that reads, “Please Respect the Tortoises.
Bringing the island to life was Grimshaw’s greatest accomplishment. His efforts paid off: the island was declared a national park. Grimshaw had been offered as much as $54 million for the property but stubbornly refused, convinced that any buyer would destroy his tortoise paradise and turn it into another big hotel resort.
It is now safely regulated as the smallest national park in the world, and also holds the distinction of having more species per square foot than any other national park in existence.
According to atlasobscura