North Cyprus Flora & Fauna
Sorry you have arrived too late to see dwarf elephants and pygmy hippopotami, giant tortoises and wild boar by about eight millennia! Although our ancestors hunted them for food, you still have a chance to see the bones of these mammals that petrified in the limestone cliffs. But remember that Cyprus is an outdoor museum that is why please do not hack at them and leave them for other’s to see.
For visitors who came from all over the world to bird-watch, North Cyprus offers you numerous opportunities to observe rare and interesting bird life. While Cyprus is situated on some important migration routes, she also plays the role of host to nearly 400 species of birds, where only 47 of them are permanent resident.
Two of these 47 native species are endemic, which means found only in Cyprus, and 5 others are sub-species of these endemic species. The 2 endemic species are the Cyprus Pied Wheathear (Kıbrıs Kuyrukkakanı), andthe Cyprus Warbler (Kıbrıs Ötleğeni); the endemic sub-species are the Scops Owl, the Short-toed Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Jay and the Crossbill.
Karpaz peninsula is the paradise for birds. The island known as Klithes which is at the edge of the peninsula is hosting the colonies of the Pygm Cormorants and the Island Gulls (Audouin’s Gull). Please contact with KUSKOR, North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature, where you can have an advice when and where to watch our birds. The contact address and the number is as follows: Vakiflar Carsisi kat 2, No 3-4, PoBox 634, Girne , Mersin 10 Turkey, tel: (0090392) 81 57337.
North Cyprus is not only hosting to the migrated birds but also hosting to the turtles. The beaches are amongst the last in the Mediterranean to be selected by the turtles, which nest during the months of June and July. Two protected species, Caretta-Caretta (Loggerhead) and Chelonia Mydas (the Green Headed Turtle), dig holes as deep as one metre during the night and lay their eggs. Little babies appear between August and September.
These endangered species’ lives have been studied for several years by volunteer students from UK alongside the Society for the Protection of Turtles in North Cyprus (SPoT) and Department for Environmental Protection. So now we know lots of habits of them for instance just how long it takes to lay the eggs and how often the same mothers return to breed. You can watch this miracle natural event by arrangement of the famous Alagadi Beach, which is Specially Protected Area (SPA). If you are lucky you may also observe mostly the Green Headed Turtles on Chelonia Beach the north coast of the island’s panhandle or any other unspoiled beaches of Northern Cyprus while she is laying her eggs or while the little turtles trying to reach to the sea. For more information please contact with Marine Turtle Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales Swansea, Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit web page http://www.seaturtle.org/mtrg , for North Cyprus contact SpoT (0090 392) 81 55135.
Free Donkeys of Karpaz
Karpaz Peninsula has become commonly known as ‘Free Donkeys’ and they have been under protection. The number of donkeys has around 400-500 and their colors are grey, brown or black. Please approach with care.
The butterflies are one of the attractive groups of wildlife in North Cyprus. While you can observe them all around the country, you can also visit the Alevkaya Herbarium where they are display. Red Admirals, Painted Ladies,Cabbage Whites, Brimstones, the Two-tailed Pasha are some of them that to be seen sipping nectar in our gardens. The best time of the day to see butterflies in North Cyprus summer is between 11am-1pm and then 3pm-5pm.
North Cyprus is an incredible place for the nature lovers with its more then 1300 species and 17 species of epidemic plants. Although there is the scarcity of its water supplies, she has varied vegetation. Northern slopes of Besparmak Mountains are covered with forests. The most common tree is Pinus brutia followed by Cypresstree, olive trees, the orange trees and the carob trees. By the way, who said that strawberry is not grow up on the tree. The Strawberry tree produces red, edible berries that resembling strawberries and you can find these evergreen bushes up to the Alevkayasi. In Alevkayasi, you can visit North Cyprus Herbarium which displays 17 ‘endemics’ of North Cyprus. There are nearly 1250 native plants species.
Without a doubt, the olive trees are one of the most special of species in the vegetation of Cyprus. The tree is important in the daily lives of the Cypriots not only being as a fixture in many meals and also because of its leaf. Islanders are burning the dry olive leaves in order to protect them selves from the bed intentions and curses of others and this is the most common superstition of them. Well if you believe these kinds of magical power it is always possible to find the leaves in Cypriot markets in London.
The Carob trees are cultivated since ancient times and until the end of the last century the harbours along the north coast were used primarily for export the carob pods. Today Turkish Cypriots are widely used them to makepekmez, a sweet syrup, or they just enjoy with eating the fresh dark-brown pods. Pekmez is obtained by boiling the pods, and a fermented drink is also brewed from them.
Varied and colourful wild flowers and plants are growing along roads, on the mountains and on the plains, still used widely for food, perfume dyes and herbal medicines. For instance the wild sage is one of these healing herbs that is drunk as a tea and believed it is good for bed stomach.
North Cyprus is even better known with its most fascinated flowers, orchids. No less than 31 different species are found, and even one rather famous orchid is Ophrys kotschyi also known as Cyprus Bee Orchid which is an endemic species of North Cyprus. There are organised orchid tours to explode this wild life.