The Cyprus Grass Snake (Natrix natrix cypriaca) is an endemic subspecies of Cyprus, highly protected by EU and Cypriot law, as a “priority species”. Dr Savvas Zotos and Marilena Stamatiou, researchers of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Management Laboratory of the Open University of Cyprus, have secured financial support of the Societas Europaea Heretologica (SEH) Conservation Grant in Herpetology for 2023, to implement the research project “Monitoring the population of the endemic Cyprus grass snake at Paralimni lake”. This is the first structured monitor scheme for the Paralimni population of this endangered species in more than fifteen years. The project aims to collect a significant amount of data on the population’s structure and dynamics, as well as supplementary notes on the quality of the habitat, and dangers it might face.
Two main populations of the Cyprus Grass Snake have been identified in Cyprus, the Troodos population, living in mountainous stream habitants with permanent or seasonal water flow, and the lowland Paralimni population. The second in is highly localized in the vicinity of the Paralimni lake, facing numbers pressures due to the highly fragmented, urbanized, and disturbed environment. The absence of crucial information on the distribution, population size, structure, and trend of the species hampers the implementation of any targeted conservation action. Zotos’ and Stamatiou’s project aims to spark more interest on this rate subspecies of the Cyprus island, while kickstarting further future research.
Source: The Open University of Cyprus I News (https://bit.ly/3STVRhd)