Introduction to the flora and the fauna of the island
Ikaria preserves its natural beauty, landscape and wilderness until today. It’s one of the most unique islands of Greece featuring many ecosystems such as mountains, green forests, flowery hills, clear rivers, waterfalls, wetlands and valleys which provide home and shelter for many rear species of plants and animal species alike, some of them can only be found in Ikaria.
Many of Ikaria's natural areas are officially protected and belong to the Natura 2000 initiative within the categories of Areas of Exceptional Natural Beauty, Important Bird Areas, and CORINE Habitats.
Since the island has not yet been transformed by human activities it conserves its wilderness even today. The ancient forest of Randi lies in the center of the island and it is said to have 300 year-old oak trees which makes this forest one of the oldest in the Mediterranean region.
On the south part of the island which is “decorated” by the great lime rocks of Atheras unique species can be found such as the Paeonia mascula cariensis and Iberis runemarkii.
Other important species are Campanula hagielia, Pteris dentata, Corydalis integra, Muscari macrocarpum and Galanthus ikariea, Digitalis cariensis (found only in Ikaria), Dianthus elegans, and Symphytum anatolicum.
The island gives home to reptiles like the Mediterranean Gecko lizard (Hemidactylus turcicus) the snake-eyed lizard (Lacertidae Lacertinae) and the so-called “lizard of Ikaria” (Lacerta oerizeni) is found only here. The most common snakes are the ephios (Coluber juguralis) and the sapites (Malpolon monsessulanus). None of the snakes of the island is poisonous.
The coastline and the wetlands provide ideal nesting places for many bird species, some of them rare ones, like the wild seagull, the sea raven, the Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraatus fasciatus), the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) and the golden falcon (Falco biarmicus).
Endangered species such as the Mediterranean seal, the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates) and the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) also find shelter in the surrounding waters of Ikaria, especially on the north side of the island.