The U.S. Geological Survey claims there are eight islands in the Great Salt Lake. Other sources put the number at nine or ten. The Utah Geological Survey tops them all at eleven. The discrepancy arises from how you claim an island is in fact an island. Stansbury is rarely ever an island, joined as it is to the southwest shore by a long, rather wide isthmus, yet it is called an island, and actually resembled one in the very wet 1980's. On the other hand, Strong's Knob, a prominent rock rising several hundred feet high and located just off the north end of the Lakeside Mountains, is likewise usually landlocked but only rates "knob status." One thing that can't be argued though, is that Antelope Island is by far the largest island in the lake.
It is also the most visited island and one of the reasons is to view the island's wildlife. The ubiquitous bison, large mule deer, the rarely seen bighorn sheep, wiley coyotes, shy bobcats, numerous different bird species and of course the pronghorn antelope, for which the island is named. It has been recorded that John C. Fremont was the first non-native human to explore the island (in 1845) and named the island after the animals he shot for food. Three years later the Fielding Garr Ranch was established and the island began its long transition from natural environment to open-air stockyard for sheep and cattle.
The irony is that prior to their successful re-introduction to the island in 1993, the pronghorn was was reported to have 'disappeared' in the 1930s. I have tried to determine how a species can disappear from what was then a closed environment (no causeway) but given our animal husbandry track record at that point and the fact that in the '20s and '30s there were over 10,000 sheep foraging on the island, I can certainly imagine their fate. The happy news is that they are back and with a herd of around 200 are thriving quite nicely.
The double irony is that the antelope of Antelope Island — and indeed, of North America — are not in fact antelope at all. Correctly they are called pronghorn and are the last living species of a biological family whose closest relatives are...giraffes and okapi! Strange, but true. But, we can easily forgive the early explorers and settlers their taxonomic tribulations as the pronghorn certainly much more closely resemble old world antelope than giraffes!