Juan de Nova Island

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Juan de Nova Island (hwän də nō´və), 1.7 sq mi (4.4 sq km), in the Mozambique Channel, Indian Ocean, between Madagascar and Mozambique; a possession of France administered by a high commissioner in Réunion. Low and flat, the island is surrounded by coral reefs. Most of it consists of heavily forested areas that form a wildlife sanctuary. There is no indigenous population, but the island is the site of a small French military garrison and a weather station. There are abundant guano deposits. Named for a 15th-century Spanish explorer, Juan de Nova has been a French possession since 1897. It is also claimed by Madagascar.