Rare wildlife found in the Cyprus Green Line areas

mouflonWhilst under the control of a United Nations peacekeeping force for the past 35 years the Green Line areas in most cases have been allowed to revert to the wild. Wildlife have multiplied without the threat of human intervention and a UN project, including both GCs and TCs, has set out to find which species are thriving in the buffer zone. This project has been running for nearly three years and has so far discovered 358 plant species, 100 bird species, 20 reptile and amphibians and 18 mammal species in the 180km strip.

There are small abandoned villages like Variseia, in the northwest of the island, which are now teeming with wildlife, including 300 Mouflon, a type of wild sheep native to Cyprus.  Altogether, in the area, there are about 3000 of these wild sheep. The Mouflon is symbolic for both communities and is the symbol of Cyprus Airways as well as on the 1, 2, and 5 cent Cypriot euro coins. The Cyprus Tulip (Tulipa cypria) and the Cyprus Bee Orchid (Ophrys kotschyi), both extremely rare, have also been found. On the downside, packs of wild dogs are also roaming this area.

Unfortunately, if there were ever a settlement, this haven for wildlife will be removed and it would not take long for populations of rare species to be decimated

[1] http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=9359627
[2] www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/hares-birds-and-orchids-the-casualties-of-peace-in-cyprus-1836061.html
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouflon

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