More Cyprus Wildlife


We have mentioned elsewhere in these pages that even though it may seem a great thing to do, please don't visit the turtles of the Akamas at Lara beach. They truly do have enough to contend with without the numbers of tourists traipsing to see them rising. So that you don't need to go, we have published some pictures below.
 

 

Baby turtle hatching ( on it's side )

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge them

These guys do their fair share of damage to the baby turtle population ,
they are called Ghost crabs.
                                

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  Click the Tunny to see Mediterranean Fish

Underwater conservation is important, so if you are a diver, fisherman, beach or pleasure craft user check this out.

In case you don't get that far here is something of interest to anybody looking at this page..... a few years ago now we received an important letter from a concerned diver.
I think everyone should read it and do what they can!
So here it is:

'I have just returned from diving the Cape Greco area, my 15th time in the last 5 years. What has happened to the fish? Where have they all gone? We must do something because there is very little to see these days. Konnos point. I saw 300 juvenile fish dead on the bottom covered in fire worms. Yes, they are still using Dynamite!

Come on, take a leaf from Sharm el Sheik and declare the whole area a National Park. No fishing within one mile of the shore.
I have complained to the CTO but no response yet, don't suppose they will.
They will sit on their arses till Scuba is dead and then ask why.
The dive shops must get together via PADI or BASC and do something before the industry is dead.'

So we started a  Fishing Petition here, and would be very happy if you would join it. Every voice counts. Please add yours today.

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Photo courtesy of A.Dementropoulos

The "two tailed Pasha" butterfly is not totally unique to Cyprus, and this not the only place you are likely to see one. (But it's rare.)

                 

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The salt lake in Larnaca attracts these guys every year on their migration route, and as visibility from the airport road is good towards the salt lake, you may see them as you arrive or depart. There was a problem with the birds dying in 2003/5 from an unknown cause. Possibilities included the lead pellets from the local clay pigeon shooting range, which apparently were falling into the lake and the build up of heavy metals, or the fact that flamingos are bottom feeders and thereby were imbibing the pellets with their food. We do not think this was the cause, as it was a fairly recent development, the pellets had been going into the lake for years.

Another plausible theory was that the lake had not been allowed to dry out for a couple of years, thereby messing up the natural eco system which had developed there over millennia. We hope that this will now stop and the salt lake will be allowed to be a naturally draining salt lake, fit to welcome the flamingos for years to come, bearing in mind of course that we now have a bird flu scare to contend with.

See the salt lake as it dries here, the second and third picture shows that a lot of people consider it a convenient rubbish tip.

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The Mouflon nearly became extinct in Cyprus, but due to a breeding program in captivity they are now re-inhabiting the mountain region of Troodos. They are elusive and shy, but you may see them at the village of  Stavros tis Psokas, where there is a reserve dedicated to their protection.  Cyprus Airways adopted the Mouflon as its emblem. 
Bravo Cyprus Airways, it is a shame that the service I have experienced on your flights would not have been out of place in a badly run zoo.....

Oroklini decided to turn the old marshland near the motorway into a lake.... oh the birds were happy, loads of ducks graced the new ' sanctuary' a crane, an injured flamingo , unable to leave on it's migration, geese and even a couple of black footed swans (until they were shot by a brave intrepid hunter ) ... then.... they stopped the water flowing in, a couple of local residents complained (probably quite rightly) that it was a daft idea... it smelt and encouraged mosquito's and other vermin... so... in the middle of the summer, when a whole community of creatures that we promised a brave new world to are sweltering beside a rapidly drying saline puddle... we leave them to die.... we MUST NOT BEHAVE SO IRRESPONSIBLY. They must be given water until the rain arrives in November... then they can be moved or whatever... but please Oroklini... don't leave them to die.

  Snakes in Cyprus

We do have a few indigenous snakes in Cyprus, the most common being non venomous.

We only have one really dangerous viper, the  Macrovipera l.lebetina Cypriensis, otherwise known as the blunt nosed viper. A brownish sandy colour it blends in well with the rocky terrain of Cyprus. It can get pretty big both length wise and width wise.

The coin snake is very similar in looks but is harmless, it is not a shy snake, and if one approaches it will hiss loudly and probably bite. It is a painful bite but contains no poison.

There are a few other snakes, but none of them is particularly harmful to humans, (The premise being that the venom is only enough to kill lizards) these include the cat snake, the Montpellier snake, the whip snake, the worm snake and the Cyprus whip snake.

In 25 years I have only ever seen one snake, and that was in a flat in larnaca. It was yellow with black markings and quite long, no mention of it in any literature I have searched through, maybe I imagined it !

 

The Cyprus grass snake Natrix natrix Cypriaca is under severe threat of extinction. Please see more here.

 

This page will be added to as and when we get feedback about conservation , problems or interesting projects, so please let us know, if you know something that we don't.
(That shouldn't be difficult.)

 

Back to the Wildlife page here

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