Exploring the Cyprus National Animal

The island nation of Cyprus is home to many unique and fascinating creatures, but one stands out as Cyprus National Animal – the mouflon. This wild sheep is not only a key player in the island’s ecosystem, but also holds great cultural significance as the Cyprus National Animal. In this article, we’ll explore the physical characteristics, behavior, habitat, and conservation of the mouflon, with insights from both a human and a zoologist perspective.

Physical Characteristics of the Cyprus National Animal

The mouflon is a sturdy and muscular wild sheep, standing at around 70-90 cm at the shoulder and weighing 35-55 kg for males, and 25-35 kg for females. Its coat is a reddish-brown color, with a white underbelly and a distinctive black stripe running along its back. The coat is also thick and woolly, providing insulation in the cold mountain environments where the mouflon thrives. One of the most striking features of the mouflon is its large curved horns, which can grow up to 80 cm in length and are used for defense, territorial disputes, and mating rituals.

Habitat and Distribution of Cyprus National Animal

The mouflon is native to the eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus, Turkey, and parts of Iran. In Cyprus, the mouflon can be found in the Troodos Mountains, where it prefers rocky, mountainous terrain with sparse vegetation. The mouflon is a very adaptable animal and can survive in different habitats, including forests, scrublands, and grasslands. However, due to habitat loss and hunting, the mouflon’s range has decreased significantly in recent years.

Behavior and Social Life of the Mouflon:

The mouflon is primarily a herbivore, feeding on grasses, shrubs, and leaves. They are also known to eat tree bark and shoots when other food sources are scarce. Mouflon herds are typically led by a dominant ram, who defends the herd and competes with other males for mating rights. During mating season, rams will engage in headbutting contests to establish dominance and access to females. Ewes give birth to one or two lambs per year, usually in late winter or early spring. The mouflon is a social animal, forming herds of up to 30 individuals.

Relationship with Humans and Conservation Efforts: Cyprus National Animal

The mouflon has played an important role in Cyprus culture for thousands of years, with depictions of the wild sheep found in ancient pottery and artwork. However, the mouflon has also been threatened by habitat loss, hunting, and competition with domestic livestock. In recent years, conservation efforts have been implemented to protect mouflon populations, including reintroduction programs, habitat restoration, and hunting regulations. These efforts have been successful in stabilizing and even increasing mouflon populations in some areas.


The mouflon is a fascinating and important animal, both ecologically and culturally. As Cyprus’s National Animal, it represents the island’s unique biodiversity and rich history. Through conservation efforts and continued education, we can ensure that the mouflon remains a vital part of Cyprus’s natural heritage for generations to come.


“Ovis orientalis” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 19, 2023.

“Mouflon” (On-line), World Wildlife Fund. Accessed March 19, 2023.

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