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Kerguelen Islands

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The Kerguelen Archipelago is in the southern Indian Ocean at 49°20' S, 70°20' E. The main island is 6,675 km2 and it is surrounded by another 300 smaller outcrops, forming an archipelago of 7,215 km². The climate is cold, very windy and the seas are usually rough.

The islands belong to France, and were discovered by Yves Joseph de Kerguelen-Trémarec[?] in February 1772. The archipelago was exploited for its seal population until their destruction, fur seals in the 18th century and elephant seals[?] in the early 20th century. A number of expeditions have briefly touched the islands, including that of James Cook in 1776.

Kerguelen has been used by a small number of science teams since 1949, with a population of 50-100 always present. The main island is also home to a well established feral cat population descended from ships' cats. They survive on sea birds and introduced rabbits.

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