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Cyprus Flora And Fauna

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Information on the Flora, Fauna and Nature in Cyprus

Vouni Village                                                        Photo ©

With its approximately 1.908 species, subspecies and varieties of flowering plants, Cyprus is an extremely interesting place for nature lovers and has all the attributes which make it a botanist's paradise. Being an island, it is sufficiently isolated to allow the evolution of a strong endemic flowering element. At the same time, being surrounded by big continents, it incorporates botanical elements of the neighbouring land masses. Over 8% of the indigenous plants of the island i.e. 145 different species and subspecies, are endemic to Cyprus.

Presently, about 30 mammal species, 25 reptiles and amphibians, 370 bird species, 250 fish species and around 6.000 insect species are known to live in various habitats of the island.

The largest wild animal on the island is the Cyprus moufflon (Ovis gmelini ophion), a rare type of wild sheep that can only be found in Cyprus. Millions of birds use Cyprus as a stopover during their migration from Europe to Africa and back. The main reason for this is the existence on the island of two wetlands, with unique and international importance, namely the Larnaka and Akrotiri salt lakes.

From the numerous wild birds of Cyprus, birds of prey are the most fascinating and among them the Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) and the Imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) are the jewels in the crown. The island’s sea creatures include seals and turtles. Two marine turtles, the Green turtle (Chelona mydas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) breed regularly on the island's sandy beaches and are strictly protected.

The main forest plant species are the Calabrian pine (Pinus brutia) and the Black pine (Pinus nigra subsp. pallasiana) found in the Troodos mountain area. The Cyclamen (Cyclamen cyprium) has been declared Cyprus’ national plant while the Golden oak (Quercus alnifolia) has been declared the island’s national tree.PIO