The park is situated on the west coast of the island and covers an area of 230 square kilometers. These include unique beaches, valleys and canyons and are inhabited by rare wildlife species essential for the ecology balance of the Mediterranean. The breathtaking grounds give home to 168 categories of birds, 12 different breeds of mammals, 16 varieties of butterflies and 20 different kinds of reptiles, as well as an exceptional collection of flora. The importance of the Akamas Peninsula has been recognized by the European Council and is part of the Mediterranean Protection Programme even though it has not yet been fully declared as a National Park by the Cyprus Government. This is mainly due to reasons related to local landowners and tourism nevertheless, Environmental Organizations are exerting pressure in that direction.