The Troodos Mountains is Cyprus' largest mountain range and also home to the country's highest peak, Mt Olympus. The flora of the Geopark is the richest in Cyprus and, for this reason, the Troodos mountain range is considered one of the most important mountain habitats for plants in the whole of Europe. The fauna of Troodos reflects the rich flora and the wide spectrum of habitats it creates for many insects, birds and animals, many of which are endemic to the region.
The Cyprus Mouflon - Ovis gmelini ophion
The mouflon is a wild sheep and this subspecies is found only in Cyprus and dates back 10,000 years. Other variants can be found in Turkey, Corsica and Sardinia. It is a large animal, the largest of the local wildlife fauna, and was endangered for many years as hunters considered it to be quite a prize. Some specimens are kept in a large enclosure of several acres at the mountain forestry centre at Stavros Tis Psokas but, over the last few years, as the animal is now protected except for the occasional poacher, it has bred successfully and can sometimes be spotted while on mountain trails. It is estimated that there are now over 3,000 individuals that roam the forests of the Troodos and Paphos mountains. Males weigh approximately 35 kilos and have heavy sickle shaped, 2 ft long horns when mature. The mouflon is a shy, beautiful and agile animal and it’s a privilege to see one.