With its approximately 1.800 species, subspecies and varieties of flowering plants, Cyprus is an extremely interesting place for nature lovers and has all the attributes which make it a botanist's paradise. Being an island, it is sufficiently isolated to allow the evolution of a strong endemic flowering element. At the same time, being surrounded by big continents, it incorporates botanical elements of the neighbouring land masses. About 7% of the indigenous plants of the island - 140 different species and subspecies - are endemic to Cyprus.
The present-day fauna of Cyprus includes some 7 species of land mammals, 26 species of amphibians and reptiles, 365 species of birds, and a great variety of insects, while the coastal waters of the island give shelter to 197 fish species and various species of crabs, sponges and echinodermata.
The largest wild animal on the island is the Cyprus moufflon (Ovis gmelimi ophion), a rare type of wild sheep that can only be found in Cyprus. Cyprus is used by millions of birds as a stopover during their migration from Europe to Africa and back. The main reason for that is the existence on the island of two wetlands, with unique and international importance, namely the Larnaka and Akrotiri salt lakes. From the numerous wild birds of Cyprus, birds of prey are the most fascinating and among them the Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) and the imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) are the jewels in the crown. The island’s sea creatures include seals and turtles. Two marine turtles, the Green turtle (Chelona mydas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) breed regularly on the island's sandy beaches and are strictly protected. The main forest plant species are the Brutia pine (Pinus brutia) and the Black pine (Pinus nigra) found in the Troodos mountain area. The Cyclamen (Cyclamen cyprium) has been declared Cyprus’ national plant while the Golden oak (Quercus alnifolia) has become the island’s national tree.PIO