Orchid Island is a 45-km² volcanic island off the southeastern coast of Taiwan island and separated from the Batanes of the Philippines by the Bashi Channel of the Luzon Strait.
Orchid Island’s jagged volcanic landscape, lush tropical jungles and clear blue waters are home to a unique mix of wildlife of Indo-Pacific and Chinese origin, and to the Tao people, an ocean-going culture with ancient beliefs and deep respect for nature.
Over a thousand kinds of fish and numerous sea-snakes populate the island’s coral reefs, while Orchid Island Scoops Owls, Whistling Green Pigeons and Bird-wing butterflies thrive in the forests alongside a host of reptiles, colorful insects and huge spiders. The Tao’s guardianship of both forest and ocean has preserved the island’s wild nature since their ancestors arrived from the Philippines nearly a thousand years ago. To this day, they harvest the sea from painted boats, hand-made from forest timber, and though the Tao’s world is changing fast, many spiritual beliefs and links with nature survive.