Plant found only in North Cyprus under protection
A RARE plant that only exists in North Cyprus is being brought under protection.
Turkish Bank, the Cyprus Wildlife Research Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency and Bayrak Radio and Television Corporation have joined forces in a bid to prevent Casey’s Larkspur (Delphinium caseyi), of which only 100 mature individual plants are believed to exist, from becoming extinct.
During the project to be carried out by the Cyprus Wildlife Research Institute, “on-site and remote conservation studies and innovative methods” will be used together for the protection of the species.
As part of the on-site conservation studies, a “safe zone” will be created to protect the natural population of the species from “external factors”, such as humans and goats, and each individual of the species will be marked and their coordinates monitored.
The aim is to track changes in the species’ population over the years and protect them with the “correct interventions in the right places”.
The species’ seeds will be collected from the wild and stored in the Cyprus Wildlife Research Institute’s “Cyprus Seed Bank” as part of the remote protection efforts and studies will be carried out to contribute to both the protection and the spread of the species.
According to a sponsorship deal signed between the Cyprus Wildlife
Research Institute and Turkish Bank executives and representatives of its “Keep Green Team”, the first phase of the project, launched earlier this month, will run for three years. As part of the project, there will be “written and visual” information provided to the public to increase awareness about the species and there will also be a workshop on the subject. An action plan, which will be prepared together with the “relevant public institutions, organisations and non-governmental organisations using the data to be collected according to international standards during the project” is said to be a “first” in Cyprus.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Casey’s Larkspur, a perennial herb, is a “critically endangered” species of plant, meaning it is close to becoming extinct in the wild. The plant exists in just two locations in the Five Finger mountains. The IUCN states that the subpopulations of Casey’s Larkspur are “severely fragmented” and that there is a “continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, as well as a presumed decline in the number of individuals”. The species and its habitat are “threatened by grazing and a number of other threats”, the IUCN adds.