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Natural Wealth | Enviromental , Wildlife & Ecosystems

Natural wealth of Kefalonia | Wildlife & Ecosystems

Kefalonia’s unique natural wealth is displayed in its exceptionally natural ecosystems. The natural park of Mount Ainos, the magnificent fir-tree forest as well as the rich flora and fauna, have immense significance. The best time to visit Mount Ainos is in the spring when the weather conditions are favourable for explorations, most of the plant species have blossomed and the clear horizon offers an exceptional mountainous and sea views. However, a visit to the snow-capped mountains is an equivalently wonderful experience.

The island offers many more significant biotopes. Kalo Oros has been designated as an important Bierd Area of Greece., particularly due to the colonization of the Gyps fulvus vulture,the Koutavos lagoon is the home and reproduction area of various breeds of ducks and swans, whilst the Livadi wetlands is a permanent retreat for wild life offering hospitality to an exceptional variety of birds. The total of 107 birds species have been recorded at Livadi, many of which are endangered  (e.g.  Eleonora’s Falcon, the Eurosian Bitten, the Little Crake, the Whiskered Tern).

The flora comprises of over 600species of self-seeded plants, many of which are rare or can only be found on the island. Amongst these plants are the viola Cephalonica , the Ajuga orientalis, the Scutellaria rubicund subsp.Cephalonica, the Saponaria Aenesia and the Poa Cephalonica which are indigenous to the island. The most impressive flora, however if the Black Fir Tree with its upright trunk, abundant branches and glistening deep green leaves that embrace Mount Ainos. Many of the trees of this species can live up to five hundred years and grow to a height of 20 to 30m. Nevertheless, Kefalonia is home to other species of typical Mediterranean plantation such as conifers, brushwood, and poa, as well beautiful wildflowers such as the Campanula rotunditolia, the Paeonia and orchid. The plains on the other hand are complemented with olive groves and vine yards which produce quality products for the island’s agricultural economy.

The fauna on Kefalonia is also significant. Many small forest mammals, such as the fox, the ferret, the hare, the porcupine and the weasel have found shelter in the rich mountainous ecosystem. The most fascinating of all is the famous wild horse which leads in herds amongst the cliffs and gorges of Mount Ainos. These horses are distinctive for their small size, thin head, strong legs and rich mane and tail. They belong to the Pindou breed and are ancestors of tame horses that were set free during the mid-war period. They have nowadays adapted and live under difficult conditions away from human presence. Other rare and endangered species that can be found on Kefalonia are the Caretta – Caretta turtle, which chooses the islnad’s sandy beaches to hide its eggs, the bottlenose dolphin and the so-called common dolphin and the Mediterranean monachus – monachus seal, which finds refuge in the caves of the northern coast.

Finally, the island is deal is ideal for bird-watching! Over 240 bird species, such as predators, seabirds, wading birds as well as small birds have been recorded. Rare breeds such as the Griffin vulture, the Glossy Ibis and other ewquisite birds such as the Hoopoe and the Bee-eater belong on the list.

 
 
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