flora fauna, north cyprus

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Flora & Fauna of North Cyprus

Orchids and endemics

About 1500 of the 1900 species contained in the Cyprus flora occur in North Cyprus. The Mediterranean climate, which receives more than 300 days on sun a year, is a major factor contributing to the richness of the natural environment. The vegetation of North Cyprus includes 19 endemic plant species which only grown in North Cyprus and are found nowhere else in the world. There are also 32 species of wild orchids. Just one orchid species (Orchid kotschyi)has been identified as endemic to North Cyprus. The best known of Cyprus's endemics species is the Medoş Tulip (Tulipacypria) which grows in the villages of Tepebasi and Avtepe where festival is held in the flower's honour every March. All of the most precious of the flora and fauna, all the orchid species, the ancient olives and the endemic and rare species are protected.

The ancient sycamore fig in front of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas (Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque) has witnessed a host of historical and social developments in the course of its long life. The tree, which is reported to have been planted when construction of the cathedral began in 1298, has lived through the Lusignan, Venetian, Ottoman and British periods and still flourishes today. This protected Sycamore Fig (Ficussycomorus), which is approximately 710 years old, is reckoned to be the oldest living tree on Cyprus. 

The wild donkeys of Karpas

Wild donkeys undoubtedly have a special place among the fauna of Cyprus. The Karpas, which not only boasts endless beaches of unparalleled quality and a unique flora, but also this hardworking, faithful, reliable and docile creature with strikingly beautiful eyes, is one of the most attractive of the tourism options. The wild donkeys which live their lives at liberty in Karpas National Park, are of great interest to visitors to Northern Cyprus and the natural fabric of the Karpas region offers perfect living conditions for the donkeys.

Birds and butterflies

By virtue of its geographical location, Northern Cyprus is also a stopping off point for migrating birds. In North Cyprus, more than 370 species of bird can be spotted at various times of the year, particularly spring and autumn. The bird watching in North Cyprus is among the best in the Mediterranean. By happy chance, there are also more than 50 species of butterfly, each more attractive than the next, which may appear before you for a moment before flitting on.

Marine turtles

Two species of marine turtles choose the beaches of Northern Cyprus to lay their eggs. These are the Loggerhead (Carettacaretta) and the Green Turtle (Cheloniamydas). Every year more than 200 of both species of marine turtle visit North Cyprus. The best time to observe the laying of the eggs is the end of June and the beginning of July. The hatch is in August and the beginning of September. If you want to witness this interesting phenomenon, the Alagadi, Akdeniz and Karpas beaches await you.