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In 1962, determined to start life anew, Yorkshire newspaper editor Brendon Grimshaw purchased little Moyenne Island in the Seychelles for £8,000. He remained there for the next 40 years. In that time Grimshaw and an assistant planted 16,000 trees by hand, built three miles of nature paths, attracted 2,000 new birds, and became caretakers of 120 giant tortoises. The island now hosts two thirds of all plants endemic to the Seychelles.

Grimshaw once turned down an offer of $50 million for the island, saying that he didn’t want to see it become a holiday destination for millionaires. Instead, in 2008 it was named a national park. Grimshaw died in 2012, but today a warden is posted on the island to collect entrance fees from tourists.