With its approximately 1,800 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 7% of the indigenous plants of the island i.e. 140 different species and subspecies, are endemic to Cyprus. 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 as the “Cyprus national plant”, while the Golden oak (Quercus alnifolia) has been declared as the “Cyprus national tree.”
Presently, about 30 mammal species including 19 different kinds of bats, 20 reptile species 3 amphibians, 370 bird species, 250 fish species, various ostracoderms, sponges, echinoderms 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 orientalis 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 Bonelli’s eagle (Aquila fasciata). The island’s sea creatures include seals and turtles. Two marine turtles, the Green turtle (Chelonia midas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) breed regularly on the island’s sandy beaches and are strictly protected.
Department of Forests
Tel: 22805510 Fax: 22805542