North Cyprus Flora and Fauna
Due to its climate and geographic position, as well as relatively unpolluted environment, the island has a varied wildlife. It hosts up to 1,600 kinds of plants, 350 species of birds, and 26 different reptile and amphibian species. From February to June Northern Cyprus is covered by different kinds of flowers with orchids to be the most extravagant species from all. In spring and summer the island is 'invaded' by about 300 species of birds. From July till August the Green Sea Turtle and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle visit the beaches of Cyprus to lay their eggs.
Have look at the most noteworthy examples of the wild nature of the island:
Orchids are believed to be flowers of superlatives. Indeed, no plant family has as many different flowers as the orchid family. There are about 24,000 accepted species of orchids, and about 800 new species are added each year.
Cyprus has over 30 different kinds of orchids, including two most popular species Ophrys Kotscdhyi, which grows only in Cyprus; and Orchis Simis. The latter is also called "monkey orchid" for its unusual petal shape that reminds of the arms and legs of a monkey.
All orchid species are protected for the purposes of international commerce as potentially threatened or endangered flowers.
During late summer (from August to October) and spring (from March to May) more than 300 species of birds, amounting 100 million in total, touch down on Cyprus on their way from Europe to Africa and back. Some remarkable examples are the Griffon Vulture, Hirundelle, Golden Oriole, Pochard, and the Cyprus Red Wheatear.
Every year the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia Mydas) and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta Caretta) come ashore to North Cyprus beaches to lay their eggs. Both turtles are considered to be endangered species.
Chelonia Mydas is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle, which grows up to 1.5 m in length, and can weigh 200 kg. The name 'green sea turtle' derives from the green colour of its body fat.
Carreta Carreta stands out for its large head with blunt jaws. Adult species grow to an average weight of about 91 kg. This turtle feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, fish, and other marine animals.
Both species return to lay their eggs on or near the same beach where they brooded. As sea turtles are sensitive to pollution and human presence, Northern Cyprus offers them a good opportunity to nest safely.
Karpaz National Park hosts about 250 wild donkeys that have been one of the symbols of Cyprus. Centuries ago merchants used to come to the island to purchase Cypriot asses which had gained popularity for their staying power. Most of the donkeys are black but you may also meet ginger species that form a unique breed.