Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Akamas Peninsula - saving the jewel of Cyprus


Situated at the westernmost tip of Cyprus , Akamas Peninsula is included in the official UNESCO list of cultural and natural treasures of the world’s heritage. It was the first area in Cyprus to have been proposed as a national park. The peninsula, Akamas, was named after the son of Theseus, hero of the Trojan Wars and founder of the city-kingdom of Soli.
Wildlife protection
Akamas Peninsula itself is a natural beauty varied in its geology. With outcrops, deep gorges of limestone, serpentine, and other igneous rocks, it allows the diversity of soil types and a rich plant life as a direct consequence. Number of plant species found here runs up to 600, with up to 35 of them being indigenous to the island. Among the endemic plant species are alyssum ( Alyssum akamasicus ) as well as the endemic tongue orchid ( Serapias aphroditae ). Rare is also yellow-flowered punctuate orchid ( Orchis punctulata ). In Peyia forest the orchids grow in both abundance and rich diversity. The variety of fauna is also impressive: 168 bird species, 12 mammals, 20 reptiles and butterfly species. Lara-Toxeftra is a Marine Reserve within Akamas National Park , which was established to protect marine turtles and their nesting beaches. Most commonly green ( Chelonia mydas ) and loggerhead turtles ( Caretta caretta ) can be found here. Occasionally monk seal can be still spotted also.
Lara Bay, turtle beach nests

The beach at Lara Bay, on Cyprus's north-west coast, is known as Lara Beach and is a near-deserted sandy strip that is home to loggerhead and green turtles – so loungers and umbrellas are not allowed. Monk seals also dwell in the sea caves around the peninsula.

Mouflon, mountain goat
Sport activities
There are two marked nature trails in the Akamas Peninsula , the Aphrodite Trail and the Adonis Trail, ideal for walking or cycling. A walk along the mountain trails accompanied by the panoramic view of the bay of Polis , is a unique experience. Down at the seaside, diving, or cruising on small craft can be also practiced. You may get a boat-trip to Akamas Sea from Latchi Harbour and choose a bottom-glass boat to discover under sea-surface life.
Blue Lagoon bay
Thanks to the white sands and turquoise water, earning its Blue Lagoon name, this secret little cove on the untouched Akamas Peninsula near Paphos is a snorkeler’s paradise.  You can only get there with a 4-wheel drive or by boat.
Avakas gorge
The much talked about Avakas Gorge, yet another trekker’s paradise carved out of limestone rocks rising up 30 metres and winding along the stream that has formed this natural wonder over thousands of years.
Prepare to walk or clamber over slippery stones and rocks along a 3km path and keep your eyes peeled for pine trees, cypresses, junipers, wild fig trees, ferns and oaks  as well as a profusion of wild flowers. Prize specimen among them is the extremely rare endemic centauria akamantis with its purple flowers that blossom in the spring.
The encirclement of Akamas by developers is getting tight. Very soon final decisions will be taken for the future of the area. Can we save Akamas, this precious jewel of Cyprus? Yes if we can have it declared first into a National Park.
The environmental organization Friends of Akamas collects signatures for a PETITION through the Internet with the demand for the declaration of the protected Akamas area into a National Park. Cyprus needs the pressure from citizens of all countries towards its government for the proper decision. Cyprus and Akamas need you.
Please Vote and Share the petition to to save Akamas! We need 20,000 signatures.

No comments: