Askos Stone Park in Zakynthos is a privately run eco-tourism venture that first opened to the public in March 2002. It comprises an area of 500 stremata (abt. 124 acres) of which one-fifth is open to visitors. The rest of the eco-park provides a natural habitat for the free animals and plants as well as being used for the production of organic animal food (without fertilisers or other chemicals) and the cultivation of fruit-trees. 170000 self sown plants(bushes and trees) grow, exactly as placed by Mother Nature. Since it first opened, the Park has developed into a carefully protected biotope in which all the free fauna of the area has found protection. There are many species of wild hawks, mammals of the island, species of birds, amphibians, insects and other native animals. The park also contains several stone and wood constructions which are many centuries old. Scientific research organisations are welcome to the park all year round for research into nature and eco-systems.