A List of the Endangered Species of Cyprus

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 25th September 2023

The flag of the Republic of Cyprus / bortonia via Istock
The flag of the Republic of Cyprus / bortonia via Istock

Although all animals should receive care and respect, some require more than others.

Understanding that some species are more endangered than others is necessary to help people give adequate attention to animals according to how much they need.

In some cases, the endangerment and extinction of certain species are controllable by conservation activities and regulation or protection laws, while nature causes others.

The church and village of Kakopetria in the Solea Valley
The church and village of Kakopetria in the Solea Valley | Kirillm via iStock

Also, because certain species face endangerment and extinction in some areas does not mean they face the same situations in other parts.

Geographically in Southern Asia, the Republic of Cyprus is an island country in the middle of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and home to many animals.

This article focuses on some endangered species of Cyprus, and going by the above, because they face endangerment in Cyprus does not mean it is the same in other parts of the world.

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3. Green Turtle

The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) / cinoby via Istock

The green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the green sea turtle, the black sea turtle, or the Pacific green turtle, is a turtle species widely distributed throughout the world’s oceans.

This animal is the only species in the Chelonia genus, with most of its population split between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Green turtles are common in Cyprus, and the island has become an important breeding ground for them.

Green sea turtle captured swimming in the shallow waters
Green sea turtle captured swimming in the shallow waters | Nautilus Creative via iStock

Although these animals look like typical sea turtles, some things set them apart from others.

Unlike many relatives, green turtles have short snouts and unhooked beaks.

Their necks are also small and can fit  into their shells, and they have paddle-like arms well-adapted for swimming.

The average size of an adult green turtle is between 150 and 419 pounds, and it can reach five feet in length.

A sea turtle on the beach
A sea turtle on the beach | Skyhobo via iStock

Despite being on the verge of extinction in much of the world, Cyprus boasts a thriving green turtle population protected by law since 1971.

However, this species still faces some threats.

One of the most significant is marine pollution, which negatively affects the turtles’ habitats.

The turtles are known to mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, one of their primary food sources, causing fatal consequences.

2. Mediterranean Monk Seal

Mediterranean monk seal on pebble beach
Mediterranean monk seal on pebble beach / sewer11 via Istock

The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is a pinniped species that once inhabited most of the Mediterranean Sea.

Its range has reduced due to hunting, habitat loss, and pollution.

One of the few remaining populations of Mediterranean monk seals is in Cyprus, where law and conservation efforts protect them.

The Mediterranean monk seal is a unique species that has adapted to life in the rocky, coastal environment of the Mediterranean Sea.

Monk seal enjoying his time on the rock
Monk seal enjoying his time on the rock | omersukrugoksu via iStock

Males weigh an average of 710 pounds, and females weigh 660 pounds.

This species, which is said to have the shortest hair of any pinniped, has fur that is either black in males or brown to dark grey in females.

Males also have a paler belly that is almost white.

Cyprus is home to a small population of Mediterranean monk seals, estimated to be around 20 individuals.

Mediterranean monk seal relax on pebble beach
Mediterranean monk seal relax on pebble beach | sewer11 via iStock

The seals inhabit the island’s northern coast, using sea caves and rocky outcroppings as shelter and breeding grounds.

To help protect the Mediterranean monk seals in Cyprus, the government has established protected areas along the island’s northern coast where seals are known to breed and live.

These areas are strictly off-limits to human activity, including fishing and boating, to minimize disturbances to the seals.

1. Cyprus Spiny Mouse

Spiny mouse on white background
Spiny mouse on white background | GlobalP via iStock

The Cyprus spiny mouse (Acomys nesiotes) is a small rodent species endemic to Cyprus. Primarily nocturnal, these rodents inhabit rocky and arid terrains.

The exact number of these rodents left in the wild is unknown, and because of this, the IUCN classifies the species “data deficient,” which is probably why they are considered endangered.

Cyprus spiny mice are known for their spiky fur, a defense mechanism against predators.

The hairs on their back are modified to form sharp, spiky projections that make them difficult to swallow.

Closeup young female spiny mouse | tenra via iStock

They also have keen senses and can move quickly, making them adept at evading predators.

These mice feed on seeds, fruits, and insects.

They are known to live in social groups of up to 15 individuals, with a dominant male leading the group.

The Cyprus spiny mouse is a valuable ecosystem member, serving as prey for larger predators and playing a role in seed dispersal.

Despite their importance to the ecosystem, Cyprus spiny mice face several threats.

Close-up female spiny mouse walking on a rusty pole
Close-up female spiny mouse walking on a rusty pole | Mr-Tigga via iStock

Habitat loss and fragmentation due to human development and agriculture threaten their survival.

In addition, invasive species such as the Indian house shrew and the black rat pose a severe threat to their survival.

These species compete with the mice for resources and can also prey on them.


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