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The National Marine Park of Zakynthos

The sea and the coastal area of the southern part of the island, at Laganas Bay, as well as the open sea up to the islets of Strofades constitutes the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, which was established by Law in 1999. The park also comprises several beaches as Limni Keriou, Laganas, Kalamaki, Secania, Dafni, Gerakas, as well as a part of the neighboring inland area.

The protected area presents the typical features of the Mediterranean landscape: sandy beaches, smaller or bigger, big rocks emerging from the sand, dunes and gross pine woods, a fertile soil ideal for cultivation, and a broad area covered with luxuriant, low vegetation of the Mediterranean type.
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The grounds of the law are to provide full and efficient protection of the flora and most of all of the unique fauna of the area. A few species live in the area, endangered by human activity and risking to vanish. Protection is ensured not by the isolating the area, practically the southern part of the island, but through incorporating the park in everyday life, both of the residents and the visitors, a venture much more difficult but far more efficient, as the residents and the visitors themselves become resolved guards of the ecosystem.

The most well known protected species of the area are the loggerhead sea turtle (LatinaCaretta-caretta) and the Mediterranean seal Monachus-monachus. The turtles live in the sea in the whole area and come ashore to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches of Laganas bay. The seals live mainly within Laganas bay but they prefer the countless caves of steep rocky western coasts for reproduction.

Not only these marine species are they under protection. Several migratory wild birds as swans, wild ducks, hawks and other less known species are found in the area, mainly at Strofades. Several species of amphibians and serpents, rabbits hedgehogs and other small animals live on the dry sandy beaches and the rocks by the sea, but also within the luxuriant vegetation of the inland. Finally, the park has a rare but interesting visitor: the dolphin Tursiops Truncatus, characteristic for its bottle-shaped muzzle.

The people of Zakynthos are very proud of the Marine Park; having the turtle as its logo, the Park has its seat at Argassi (for information, call 26950.29.870).
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