By Heidi Trautmann
Again in 2011, the Association for the preservation of Cyprus Wildlife – Kuşkor – showed us the riches of our island in a beautiful exhibition in Bellapais; there were the kingdoms of birds, insects and butterflies, of lizards and snakes, of fish and frogs and the world of flowers and weeds in all seasons. Professional photos, for example by Bariş Saydam, very impressive; we don’t get as near to wildlife as these professional nature photographers; it is thanks to them that we get a closer look and understanding, thanks to their patience and knowhow.
This is what Kuşkor is aiming at, to provoke an understanding for nature and its endangered situation, to shake awake people’s conscience and get them involved.
We should be involved, as it is five to twelve!
It was mostly in and around our garden that we had our most weird experiences and encounters with wildlife, because here we sit and observe, plant and work, alongside with its ‘other’ inhabitants. Have you ever had the chance to look straight into the eyes of a Mantis when she most elegantly walks up the stalk of a plant and stops because you come close to her, turning her triangular head and without any fear looking at you? Or the weird feeling when holding a chameleon in your hands having it rescued from the jaws of your cat?
How often have I saved some young birds caught in our rooms and not finding its way out; at the end of their fight they are so exhausted that you can pick them up in your hand and you feel their heart flutter;
Many years ago a jay found her way to our garden and flew right into a glass door and hurt herself badly – why do I use the female gender on birds? I don’t know, they seem to have female properties - I picked the jay up, it is a big bird of at least 25 cm with the typical blue feathers on its wings, and found the big bump on her head. I took her inside the house because of our cats and got a knife with a broad blade and applied it on her head to get the bump flat, just as my grandmother did when I had hurt myself as a child. I kept the bird on my lap for at least 30 minutes applying the knife blade and some ice. The bird came around soon but sat with me a long time.
I am sure you know my story about the young fox which came to our kitchen and we fed him through the winter? The green frogs we imported from a friend’s pool to our ravine brook to have another tone added to the concerts of the crickets?
Hélas, there are no more jays or hoopoes to be found around, hardly any butterflies since the munipalicity sends cars around the villages to kill the mosquitoes; we used to have plenty of black snakes in our area, this year we had hundreds of rats instead; and on top of that we have the hunters shooting at everything with wings, some even directly from the car!
Martin Marancos, president of Kuskor, explained to me at the exhibition that they have finally succeeded to cooperate with the hunters’ association which have finally established controls to follow up violation of the law, misbehavior and trespassing of protected areas.
They have also initiated a photo and art competition in schools whose winners were displayed on this occasion. There should be many more school children take part.
The visitors could grab some information leaflets on bird watching, hiking and biking tracks. There was also a book launch of D.E.Viney’s Illustrated Flora Guide of North Cyprus, a worked over new second edition. A new map on the Karpaz peninsula was also presented at the exhibition; the authors, Mr Marcos Gittis and his wife have explained to me that the map is brand new with all roads and distances correct as they have taken a GPS system with them on their travels through the area; a pocket size map with tour information on the back.
Viney’s book and all information material, also the new calendar, are available at Kuskor’s office and library; the book and map at book stores, leaflets at Tourist Information offices. For any other information such as background story of the in 1989 founded association, events, bird watching and nature tracks and so on, please visit Kuşkor’s website: http://www.kuskor.org/home.php?page=home
The office is on the second floor of the building behind Vakif Bank nr Colony Hotel;
Tel. Nos: 815 5742 and 0542 881 3750