Nicosia district farmers threatened on Monday to sue the government unless it takes effective measures to stop mouflons destroying agricultural produce in the mountain areas where they live.
According to the Cyprus Farmers’ Association (EKA), members of its Nicosia branch visited the Kambos and Tsakkistra villages near Kykkos monastery where they observed “once more the great destruction of agricultural production caused by mouflons”.
“This damage plagues all farmers in the Troodos mountain areas, who for years have seen the labours of a productive year lost, while the state simply monitors and makes promises,” the group said in announcement on Monday.
“The big problems of drought, of the heat wave and the ongoing effects of the economic crisis and austerity policies, combined with the far greater damage caused by mouflons, is leading farmers of the most isolated communities in Cyprus to despair.”
According to recent data presented by EKA, the population of mouflons has increased significantly in recent years and “has become a scourge for the area’s residents”.
Kambos and Tsakkistra residents have said they will take legal action against the state if authorities do not put effective measures in place, EKA said.
Agrino, as the endemic Cyprus mouflon – ovis orientalis – is called, has lived on the island for more than 8,000 years, and is Cyprus’ national animal. It is a protected species and is also mentioned in the EU ‘s Habitats Directive. Their hunting is strictly prohibited. The Game and Fauna Service is responsible for the management of the species.