ArticlePDF Available

Conservation of a new breeding population of Caucasian lynx (Lynx lynx dinniki) in eastern Turkey


Abstract and Figures

Current data on the distribution and ecology of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Turkey is limited. Furthermore, lynx in the Caucasus region are likely to represent a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx, the Caucasian lynx (L. l. dinniki). Throughout its range, lynx increasingly face threats due to human activity with habitat loss and prey depletion being of particular concern in eastern Turkey. As part of our camera trapping efforts to monitor large carnivores in Sarıkamış-Allahuekber National Park and surrounding forests in Kars province, eastern Turkey, we have documented a breeding population of Caucasian lynx outside the species published range. In addition to the threats above, vehicle strikes, poaching, and sheep dogs also threaten this small population. There is an urgent need for ecological research, raising awareness and community-based conservation efforts focused on large carnivores in the region.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Turkish Journal of
Zoology Turk J Zool
(2015) 39: 541-543
Conservation of a new breeding population of Caucasian lynx
(Lynx lynx dinniki) in eastern Turkey
Mark W. CHYNOWETH1,*, Emrah ÇOBAN2, Çağan H. ŞEKERCIOĞLU1,2,3
1Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
2KuzeyDoğa Society, Kars, Turkey
3College of Sciences, Koç University, Rumelifeneri, Sarıyer, İstanbul, Turkey
* Correspondence:
e Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is a widely distributed
species in Asia and Europe, relying on adequate forest
cover and a sucient prey base for its survival (Aulagnier
et al., 2009). Historically, lynx inhabited a much larger
region including many areas throughout western Europe;
however, habitat loss and human activity has fragmented
the population into isolated remnants in many parts of
its range and some isolated European subpopulations are
critically endangered or endangered (Breitenmoser et al.,
2008). While lynx have been successfully reintroduced to
several areas of central and western Europe (Kaczensky
et al., 2013), habitat availability and human–carnivore
conict continue to be critical barriers to their success in
many areas. As a result, habitat constraints and limited
connectivity between Eurasian lynx populations have
resulted in high levels of genetic dierentiation in parts
of their western range (Ratkiewicz et al., 2012). In some
cases, isolated populations have been recognized as
subspecies of lynx, leading to the designation of discrete,
demographically independent populations. e lynx in
eastern Turkey are considered a subspecies of Eurasian lynx
known as the Caucasian lynx, Lynx lynx dinniki (von Arx
et al., 2004; Albayrak, 2012), are considered endangered
(Price, 2000), and are in need of a conservation-breeding
program (von Arx et al., 2004).
For a temperate region, Turkey has an impressive
assemblage of large mammalian carnivores, including lynx,
caracal (Caracal caracal schmitzi), leopard (Panthera pardus
tulliana), Eurasian brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos), gray
wolf (Canis lupus lupus), and striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena),
with Persian lion (Felis leo persica), tiger (Panthera tigris
virgata), and Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus)
having gone extinct in the past two centuries (Şekercioğlu
et al., 2011a). However, Turkey’s biodiversity is in crisis
(Şekercioğlu et al., 2011a, 2011b), Turkey’s carnivores are
understudied, and, illustratively, little is known about the
distribution and ecology of lynx in eastern Turkey. ese
medium-sized cats are elusive animals that are rarely seen
in the wild. Recent camera trapping projects and surveys
have generated records of lynx in some provinces (Ambarlı
et al., 2010; Albayrak, 2012) and neighboring countries
in which they had not previously been sighted/recorded
(Moqanaki et al., 2010 and references therein). While the
distribution and status of lynx in Turkey are data-decient,
we think that the fragmentation of forest, depletion of
prey base, poaching, and vehicle collisions represent
signicant threats to this understudied subspecies. Due to
its geographic isolation, the population of L. l. dinniki in
eastern Turkey could potentially represent an evolutionarily
signicant unit in need of detailed research (Moritz, 1994).
Current data on the distribution and ecology of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Turkey are limited. Furthermore, lynx in the
Caucasus region are likely to represent a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx, the Caucasian lynx (L. l. dinniki). roughout its range, lynx
increasingly face threats due to human activity, with habitat loss and prey depletion being of particular concern in eastern Turkey. As part
of our camera trapping eorts to monitor large carnivores in the Sarıkamış-Allahuekber National Park and surrounding forests in Kars and
Erzurum provinces, eastern Turkey, we have documented a breeding population of Caucasian lynx outside the species’ published range. In
addition to the threats above, vehicle strikes, poaching, and guardian dogs also threaten this small population. ere is an urgent need for
ecological research, awareness raising, and community-based conservation eorts focused on large carnivores in the region.
Key words: Anatolia, camera trapping, carnivore, cats, Caucasus biodiversity hotspot, human–wildlife conict, threatened species
Received: 09.05.2014 Accepted: 09.09.2014 Published Online: 04.05.2015 Printed: 29.05.2015
Short Communication
CHYNOWETH et al. / Turk J Zool
Since 2006, our camera trapping study has been
operational in the Sarıkamış-Allahuekber Mountains
National Park and surrounding forests in eastern Turkey’s
Kars Province. Forest cover on this high elevation plateau
is dominated by Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris var. hamata),
but it is extremely fragmented due to human agricultural
activity. Legal logging occurs on about 85% of the ~328
km2 forest and illegal timber poaching is widespread
(Şekercioğlu, 2012). Most notably, our study site is located
more than 100 km from the nearest lynx locality in the
IUCN Red List distribution map (Breitenmoser et al.,
2008; Figure 1). Our camera trap survey has documented
15 mammal species, including the Caucasian lynx. Regular
photographs of lynx from 9 months of the year provide
concrete evidence to expand the known distribution
of lynx in Turkey. Several of our photos document lynx
with cubs, the rst photographic evidence of a breeding
population of lynx in the area (Figure 2a). In our most
recent survey with 13 camera traps over approximately 3
months (1351 trap-nights), we had 8 instances of 5 distinct
individuals recognized by unique pelage.
Our discovery suggests that the Sarıkamış-Allahuekber
National Park and the surrounding forest is a refuge for
predators in a highly fragmented landscape dominated
by human activity. erefore, protecting these forests and
connecting them to the bigger forests in the north with
Turkey’s rst wildlife corridor (Şekercioğlu, 2012) are of
vital importance to the conservation of large carnivore
populations, including the Caucasian lynx and other feline
species. In 2010, our camera trap survey documented
Figure 1. IUCN distribution of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Turkey shaded in black with the Sarıkamış-
Allahuekber Mountains National Park represented with a white star (Breitenmoser et al., 2008).
KuzeyDoğa’s work focuses on the national park and surrounding areas, where we have documented a
breeding population of lynx.
Figure 2. (A) Camera trap photo from the KuzeyDoğa Society’s ongoing camera trap project in eastern
Turkey, focusing on the Sarıkamış-Allahuekber Mountains National park and the surrounding forest.
is is the rst photographic evidence of a breeding lynx population in the area. (B) A lynx killed by a
vehicle collision in fall 2013.
CHYNOWETH et al. / Turk J Zool
wild cats (Felis sylvestris sylvestris) for the rst time in the
region. Nearby, the Aras River watershed harbors jungle
cats (Felis chaus chaus). Leopards have also recently been
recorded in all the countries neighboring northeastern
Turkey (i.e. Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan (Nakhchivan),
and Iran (Khorozyan and Abramov, 2007; Ghoddousi et
al., 2010)) and may survive in the rugged Arpaçay Canyon
and Aras River military zones, which form the Turkey–
Armenia border and are o limits to the public.
Like most large carnivores, lynx require large areas
and are particularly susceptible to threats directly related
to human activity (Ripple et al., 2014). Illegal skin trade
has been identied by the IUCN as the biggest threat
to the Eurasian lynx, followed by habitat loss and prey
depletion (Breitenmoser et al., 2008). In eastern Turkey, all
three of these threats exist. However, habitat loss and prey
depletion may play a proportionately larger role in limiting
lynx populations. Agricultural activities, mainly livestock
grazing, are decreasing forest cover, which is necessary
for lynx and their prey to survive. In many areas that lynx
inhabit, ungulates are considered a primary food source.
However, evidence of roe deer from camera trap surveys
and scat surveys in the region is extremely rare. Out of
3827 trap nights at 25 camera trap stations in the Sarıkamış
forest over 8 years, we documented a maximum of 5 roe
deer in only 41 photos. Lynx are also killed regularly in
eastern Turkey by vehicle collisions, poaching, and sheep
dogs (Figure 2b). A collaboration between the University of
Utah and the KuzeyDoğa Society, our wildlife conservation
ecology project is being carried out with the hope of
contributing to the growing conservation movement
in Turkey and improving carnivore conservation in the
region. We strongly recommend detailed research on the
behavior, distribution, genetics, ecology, and population
biology of the Caucasian lynx in eastern Turkey to better
understand the geographic range, population trends, and
threats to this distinct population of lynx.
We thank the General Directorate of Nature Conservation
and National Parks and Forestry General Directorate
of Turkey’s Ministry of Forestry and Water Aairs for
permitting our research (Permit: Doğu Anadolu Bölgesinde
Yaban Hayatının Korunması). We thank the Christensen
Fund, National Geographic Society, UNDP Small Grants
Programme, the University of Utah, and the Whitley Fund
for their support. We are grateful to the KuzeyDoğa sta
and volunteers for their tireless eorts through the years
and to the people of Kars for their hospitality.
Albayrak İ (2012). New record of Lynx lynx (L., 1758) in Turkey
(Mammalia: Carnivora). Turk J Zool 36: 814–819.
Ambarlı H, Mengulluoglu D, Bilgin CC (2010). First camera trap
pictures of Eurasian lynx from Turkey. CATnews 2010: 52.
Aulagnier S, Haner P, Mitchell-Jones AJ, Moutou F, Zima J (2009).
Mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
London, UK: A&C Black Publishers Ltd.
Breitenmoser U, Mallon DP, von Arx M, Breitenmoser-Wursten C
(2008). Lynx lynx. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of reatened
Species. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
Ghoddousi A, Hamidi AK, Ghadirian T, Ashayeri D, Khorozyan I
(2010). e status of the Endangered Persian leopard Panthera
pardus saxicolor in Bamu National Park, Iran. Oryx 44: 551–
Khorozyan IG, Abramov AV (2007). e Leopard, Panthera pardus,
(Carnivora: Felidae) and its resilience to human pressure in the
Caucasus. Zool Middle East 41: 11–24.
Kaczensky P, Chapron G, von Arx M, Huber D, Andren H, Linnell J
(2013). Status, management and distribution of large carnivores
– bear, lynx, wolf & wolverine – in Europe. Brussels, Belgium:
Report Prepared for the European Commission.
Moqanaki EM, Farhadinia MS, Mousavi M, Breitenmoser U (2010).
Distribution and conservation status of the Eurasian lynx in
Iran. CATnews 2010: 53.
Moritz C (1994). Dening “Evolutionarily Signicant Units” for
conservation. Trends in Ecol Evol 9: 373–5.
Price MF, editor (2000). Cooperation in the European Mountains 2:
e Caucasus. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN.
Ratkiewicz M, Matosiuk M, Kowalczyk R, Konopiński MK, Okarma
H, Ozolins J, Männil P, Ornicans A, Schmidt K (2012). High
levels of population dierentiation in Eurasian lynx at the
edge of the species’ western range in Europe revealed by
mitochondrial DNA analyses. Anim Conserv 15: 603–612.
Ripple WJ, Estes JA, Beschta RL, Wilmers CC, Ritchie EG,
Hebblewhite M, Berger J, Elmhagen B, Letnic M, Nelson MP
et al. (2014). Status and ecological eects of the world’s largest
carnivores. Science 343: 1241484–1241484.
Şekercioğlu ÇH (2012). Turkey’s First Wildlife Corridor Links
Bear, Wolf and Lynx Populations to the Caucasus Forests.
Washington, DC, USA: National Geographic Society.
Şekercioğlu ÇH, Anderson S, Akçay E, Bilgin R, Can ÖE, Semiz G,
Tavşanoğlu Ç, Yokeş MB, Soyumert A, İpekdal K et al. (2011a).
Turkey’s globally important biodiversity in crisis. Biol Conserv
144: 2752–2769.
Şekercioğlu CH, Anderson S, Akçay E, Bilgin R (2011b). Turkey’s
rich natural heritage under assault. Science 334: 1637-1639.
Von Arx M, Breitenmoser-Würsten C, Zimmermann F, Breitenmoser
U (2004). Status and Conservation of the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx
lynx) in Europe in 2001. Muri, Switzerland: KORA.
... The Kars-Ardahan mountain plateau is situated at the intersection of the Caucasus and Irano-Anatolian global biodiversity hotspots (Chynoweth et al., 2015;Şekercioğlu, 2012). Its base starts at about 1,900 m and it rises to an elevation of 3,120 m above sea level. ...
... My Turkish friends have mastered fieldwork techniques for studying large carnivores including capturing, collaring and tracking. Over the years, our work gradually expanded from wolves to lynx and bears (Chynoweth et al., 2015;Şekercioğlu 2013 a, b). During a 10-year period, we captured 29 wolves, 68 bears and 15 lynxes for GPS tracking. ...
Full-text available
Turkey is the only country in the world that is almost entirely covered by three global biodiversity hotspots (Caucasus, Iran-Anatolian and Mediterranean), and yet its biodiversity and ecosystems are greatly threatened. Nevertheless in the northeast, where the human population is declining, there is still some potential for the conservation of large mammalian carnivores.
... Anatolia has a remarkable felid populations compared with other regions in Western Eurasia. Caracal (Caracal caracal) and Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) are two medium-sized cats among other five cats that live on Anatolia (Chynoweth et al., 2015;İlemin, 2017) see Fig. 1. They are important herbivore population control agents and by this way very vital for the ecosystems they live in (İlemin, 2017;Mengülluoğlu et al., 2018). ...
... The Eurasian lynx is a widespread felid in Asia and Europe that needs vegetation cover and a sufficient prey density for its survival. In opposite to other regions of Eurasia, research on the biology and ecology of the Eurasian lynx in Anatolia is limited except for increasing studies in the last decade (Ambarlı et al., 2010;Avgan et al., 2014;Chynoweth et al., 2015;Mengülluoğlu et al., 2018;Soyumert et al., 2019, Soyumert, 2020. In Anatolia, Eurasian lynx populations are distributed widely although more isolated and fragmented than the caracal (Chynoweth et al., 2015, Fig. 1). ...
Full-text available
This study aims to determine the distributions of Caracal Caracal caracal and Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx in the central part of southwestern Turkey. It was conducted using a camera trap survey in 9 km2 gird cells of 280 km2 study area between March 2014 and April 2015. During the 7776 camera trap day survey, we obtained 5964 wildlife records from 31 different camera trap stations. While eight camera trap stations are positive for caracal (n = 48) and four camera trap stations are positive for lynx (n = 22), five camera trap stations are positive both for caracal and lynx. These results indicate the first evidence on sympatric occurrence of caracal and Eurasian lynx in Anatolia. The area in which caracal and eurasian lynx were recorded together is located at the transition of two eco-regions. High habitat diversity of this area have allowed these two species to be present in the area with suitable habitat and abundant prey (European hare) availability. Maintaining high habitat diversity is very important for preserving the existence of these two felid species in that area.
... Factors such as the destruction of forests, absence of its preys, illegal hunting, and car accidents are a significant threat for this genus. There are no clear data on the distribution and ecology of the Eurasian lynx in the east of Turkey (Chynoweth et al., 2015). ...
Full-text available
In this study, it was aimed to perform an anatomical, histological, and immunohistochemical investigation of the intestines of the lynx. After performing macro-anatomical measurements of the tissues obtained from the small and large intestines of the lynx which was brought to the Kafkas University Veterinary Faculty Clinics and Wild Life Preservation and Rehabilitation Center for treatment but could not be saved despite all interventions, the routine histological procedure was followed. Triple staining was applied to examine the general histological structure of intestinal tissues, and PAS staining was applied for identifying goblet cells. Somatostatin distribution was examined immunohistochemically. The lengths and layer thicknesses of intestinal segments were measured and statistically evaluated. It was determined that the total length of the intestines of the lynx was similar to that of Canis species, mucosa thickness decreased from the duodenum to the jejunum, and muscularis thickness was higher in the jejunum in comparison to the other segments. Somatostatin immunoreactivity was determined to be at varying intensities in the mucosa, muscularis, and serosa throughout the intestine.
... Many important mammal species that have existed in Anatolia in the past such as Asian lion (Panthera leo persica) (Kasperek 1986), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) (Albayak and Lister 2012), Caspian tiger (P. tigris virgata) (Goodrich et al. 2015) and Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) (Chynoweth et al. 2015) (Aslım et al. 2012) became extinct during or before the nineteenth century. Currently, there are 134 wild animal species in the critical (CR), endangered (EN), and vulnerable (VU) categories of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Turkey. ...
Full-text available
Düzlerçamı Wildlife Reserve Area (WRA) is the last natural habitat of fallow deer (Dama dama) in the world. Fallow deer is native to Turkey, however, its geographical range is currently confined to Düzlerçamı WRA, Antalya. To date, a detailed habitat investigation of fallow deer distribution has not been conducted. This study is vital for the last surviving populations of fallow deer in Turkey. Therefore, we studied the habitat suitability and utilization of fallow deer in the Düzlerçamı WRA. Vegetation and wildlife inventory was surveyed across a total of 304 sample areas between 2015 and 2017. Plant species were recorded according to the Braun-Blanquet method and wildlife surveys were based on footprints, feces, and other signs of fallow deer. Classification and regression tree techniques, as well as MAXENT, were used to model vegetation and fallow deer habitat. Topographic position index, terrain ruggedness index, roughness index, elevation, and bedrock formation were also calculated and included in the models. Based on our results, we drafted a habitat protection map for fallow deer. To ensure sustainability of habitats where populations of fallow deer are found in Turkey, we developed recommendations such as closuring human access of the 1st-degree Protection Area and reintroduction of the species to other potential habitats.
... To date, only a limited number of studies have been published on the lynx populations in Turkey. Although there are studies on regional populations and their distributions (Ambarlı et al. 2010;Akbaba and Ayaş 2012;Avgan et al. 2014;Chynoweth et al. 2015;Kaya Özdemirel et al. 2016;Mengüllüoğlu et al. 2018;Soyumert et al. 2019;İlemin et al. 2020;Soyumert 2020), we still lack a complete map of the species' distribution range in the entire Anatolia. A few more studies from Turkey can also be found in the literature, although these focused only on the parasitology (Sağlam et al. 2014;Avcıoğlu et al. 2018) or morphology (Albayrak 2012;Arı et al. 2018) of the lynx, and thus failed to contribute to the lack of distribution data of the species in Turkey. ...
In this study, we aimed to determine the daily activity patterns and seasonal activity variations of the Eurasian lynx in different habitats (forests and open lands) in a geographical region where there are relatively few data on its ecological characteristics. Survey effort totaled 10 102 camera trap days, with 24 camera trap stations covering an area of approximately 650 km2. Our results showed no significant differences in the habitat preference of the lynx throughout the entire study area or between seasons. The crepuscular and nocturnal activity preferences of the lynx were similar to those of the wolf, red fox, and the European hare. The lynx's daily activity pattern peaked during 20:00–22:00 and 04:00–06:00 hours, and did not show significant variation between seasons. Kernel density estimation was used in order to reveal the temporal overlap of other carnivore and herbivore species with the lynx. The highest temporal overlap (coefficient of overlapping: 0.90) was seen with the European hare. Our findings also indicated higher temporal overlaps with the wolf, red fox, wild boar, and brown bear, and lower overlaps with the red deer, Southwest Asian badger, and Martes spp., which improved understanding of their interactions and co-existence with the lynx.
... Documenting species presence or absence is crucial to the discovery , rediscovery (Yamada et al., 2010), and confirmation (Lhota et al., 2012) of range expansions of both native (Chynoweth et al., 2015) and invasive (Naderi et al., 2020) species. Studies of species presence are pertinent to monitoring elusive and endangered species, and photos of these species are also invaluable for education and public outreach. ...
COVID-19 has altered many aspects of everyday life. For the scientific community, the pandemic has called upon scientists to continue their work in novel ways, curtailing field and lab research. However, this unprecedented situation also offers an opportunity for researchers to optimize and further develop available field methods. Camera traps are one example of a tool used in conservation research and management to answer questions about wildlife presence, abundance, and population trends. Camera traps have long battery lives, lasting up to a year in certain cases, and photo storage capacity, with some models capable of transmitting images from the field wirelessly. This allows researchers to deploy cameras in the field without having to check them for up to a year or more, making camera traps an ideal field research tool during restrictions on in-person research activities, such as COVID-19 lockdowns. As technological advances allow cameras to collect increasingly greater numbers of photos and videos, the analysis techniques for large amounts of data are evolving. Here, we describe the most common research questions suitable for camera trap studies and their importance for biodiversity conservation. As COVID-19 continues to affect how people interact with the natural environment, we discuss novel questions for which camera traps can provide insights on. We conclude by summarizing the results of a systematic review of camera trap studies, providing data on target taxa, geographic distribution, publication rate, and venues to help researchers planning to use camera traps in response to the current changes in human activity.
... Despite Turkey's rich biodiversity, 8 of the 21 terrestrial predator populations have been decreasing in numbers due to the factors mentioned above (Can and Togan, 2004;Capitani et al., 2016). Among these species, the grey wolf (Canis Lupus), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) (Chynoweth et al., 2015), brown bear (Ursus arctos) (Ambarlı et al., 2016) and caracal (Caracal caracal) (Giannatos et al., 2006; Ilemin and Gurkan, 2010; Oğurlu and Ünal, Capture-Recapture models are used to analyze population density. This model has become more prominent because it allows for individual diagnosis of spotted pattern structure of jungle cats in order to estimate population size. ...
... The raccoon dog has been mentioned as a potential prey for lynx (Lavrov, 1971). Even though this is positive for the Caucasian lynx (Lynx lynx dinniki) and gray wolves (Canis lupus) living in this study area with relatively low mammalian prey availability (Chynoweth et al., 2015;Capitani et al., 2016), the raccoon dog's capacity as an expanding nonnative species, its ability to cope with new environments, its capacity as an important host for rabies, and its omnivorous feeding strategy that results in raccoon dogs preying on and competing with other native mammals combine to make it an overall threat to Turkey's forest ecosystems. ...
Full-text available
The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) was recorded for the first time in Turkey on May 10, 2019, and June 5, 2019, in the same location after 4668 nights of camera trapping in the forests of the Sarıkamış region and Allahuekber Mountains in eastern Turkey. It was recorded in a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) forest at 2340 m above sea level with extensive snow cover. Given that the nearest known population is in the forests of Georgia approximately 105 km away, there may already be a viable population in Turkey. As an omnivorous species with a high adaptive ability and high reproductive potential, the raccoon dog has strong dispersal capability. It is considered an invasive species in Europe and there are some ongoing eradication activities in several countries. Therefore, we strongly advise that the raccoon dog in Turkey be evaluated as an invasive species and that the relevant authorities conduct extensive research and any necessary management, especially where the habitat and local climate are more favorable for the species’ reproduction and range expansion.
... The Eurasian lynx has a wide distribution range from Europe to Asia [9,13,14], including several regions in Turkey [15][16][17][18] (Figure 1). Mount Ilgaz in the Western Black Sea Region of Anatolia is one of these areas supporting a Eurasian lynx population [19]. ...
Full-text available
Breeding seasons are one of the most important periods for the life cycle of large mammals. The young individuals of large carnivore mammals are usually dependent on the female for food and protection. Therefore, availability of the sources and human disturbance at the breeding site are critical for a successful breeding season. The breeding site is of vital importance to the survival of the new-borns and thus to the trends in the population size. The present study assesses the breeding records of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) based on camera-trapping surveys at the Mount Ilgaz Wildlife Reserve in the province of Kastamonu. The surveys were conducted continuously over a four year period (2014-2018) and the results indicate that the camera-trap stations, which detected the cubs of Eurasian lynx, have also been used by the juvenile individuals of two other top predator large mammals, brown bear (Ursus arctos) and grey wolf (Canis lupus) and the juveniles of their prey species, red deer (Cervus elaphus) and brown hare (Lepus europaeus). Consequently, further assessment of the Wildlife Reserve Area considering the breeding records of the large mammals will contribute to have more effective protection for the Eurasian lynx and other wildlife populations in the Western Black Sea Region of Anatolia.
Full-text available
This paper reports the morphological characteristics of a subadult lynx, Lynx lynx, collected in 2005 from Ardanuc in Artvin Province. Pelage color, hair structure, and some cranial measurements of this specimen and other recent records of Turkish lynxes are given, including that from Beyaz Dag in Sirnak Province in the southeastern part of Turkey collected during field work and a skin from an unknown locality in Isparta. It was concluded that Turkish lynxes are likely to represent the subspecies L. lynx dinniki based on a comparison of morphometric values given in the literature.
Full-text available
Large carnivores face serious threats and are experiencing massive declines in their populations and geographic ranges around the world. We highlight how these threats have affected the conservation status and ecological functioning of the 31 largest mammalian carnivores on Earth. Consistent with theory, empirical studies increasingly show that large carnivores have substantial effects on the structure and function of diverse ecosystems. Significant cascading trophic interactions, mediated by their prey or sympatric mesopredators, arise when some of these carnivores are extirpated from or repatriated to ecosystems. Unexpected effects of trophic cascades on various taxa and processes include changes to bird, mammal, invertebrate, and herpetofauna abundance or richness; subsidies to scavengers; altered disease dynamics; carbon sequestration; modified stream morphology; and crop damage. Promoting tolerance and coexistence with large carnivores is a crucial societal challenge that will ultimately determine the fate of Earth’s largest carnivores and all that depends upon them, including humans.
Technical Report
Full-text available
Large carnivores (bears Ursus arctos, wolves Canis lupus, lynx Lynx lynx and wolverines Gulo gulo) are among the most challenging group of species to maintain as large and continuous populations or to reintegrate back into the European landscape. Political, socioeconomic and society changes challenge past management approaches in some of the large populations. At the same time local improvements in habitat quality, the return of their prey species, public support and favourable legislation allow for the recovery of some small populations. Several of Europe’s large carnivore populations are large and robust, others are expanding, some small populations remain critically endangered and a few are declining. Large carnivores need very large areas and their conservation needs to be planned on very wide spatial scales that will often span many intra‐ and inter‐national borders. Within these large scales conservation and management actions need to be coordinated. To facilitate coordination, a common understanding of the present day conservation status of large carnivores at national and population level is an important basis. The aim of this summary report is to provide an expert based update of the conservation status of all populations identified by the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (LCIE), available in the document “Guidelines for Population Level Management Plans for Large Carnivores” (Linnell et al. 2008) and/or in the various Species Online Information Systems (‐ois/; also see Appendix 1). However, methods used to monitor large carnivores vary and a direct comparison over time or among populations will never be possible at a continental scale. It is more realistic to have an insight into the general order of magnitude of the population, its trend and permanent range as the “currencies” for comparisons and assessments (see point 2). This summary also does not aim to replace the habitat directive reporting, but rather complement it. Discrepancies will likely occur due to different time periods covered and different agreements reached on common reporting criteria on a national level which has to deal with many more species. Furthermore, for several countries the most recent data or distribution map were not always available, yet. Changes in monitoring methods likely result in changing population estimates, even in stable populations. Improved and more costly methods may suddenly discover that previous estimates were too high, or may detect more individuals than previously assumed. Examples of both occur. Being aware of the change in methodology the expert assessment may still be “stable” for the population even if numbers listed in tables have changed. On the other hand, large scale “official” (government) estimates may be based on questionable or non‐transparent extrapolations that run contrary to data from reference areas within the country or similar regions from other countries. If the discrepancy is apparent, expert assessment needs to question official numbers. This summary does not aim at reviewing monitoring techniques. Examples of parameters and principles for monitoring large carnivores and some “good practice” examples have been previously compiled by the LCIE ( Furthermore, references at the end of many country reports do provide ample examples of well documented and state of the art monitoring of large carnivores in Europe under a wide variety of different contexts.
Full-text available
The Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx is widely distributed in Asia, but is one of the least-known cats. Despite being the largest small cat in Iran, general information about lynx previously consisted of a few historical records (>15) and anecdotal observations from various sources. From 2006–2009 we conducted surveys by means of literature reviews, questionnaires and interviews, and examined museum specimens to determine the species distribution in Iran and document major threats to its persistence. We collected 167 new geographic records mainly from the past three decades, here used to describe the actual and probable distribution of the Eurasian lynx in Iran. We found confirmed and probable presence (category 1 and 2 records) in 19 out of 30 provinces and possible presence (category 3) in an additional 6 provinces, mainly in the south and east. Our results indicate a larger distribution of lynx in Iran than previously published (confirmed presence in 3, unconfirmed in 9 provinces). However, we can at present not yet assess the development and potential fragmentation of the distribution range and therefore advise judging the species conservation status with caution.
Full-text available
Large terrestrial carnivores are particularly prone to factors constraining levels of population genetic diversity because of their low densities and high spatial requirements. We studied the pattern of Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx population genetic variability in the westernmost part of its natural range from Scandinavia to the Carpathian Mountains (north-central Europe) based on 190 samples using 613 base pair-long sequences from the mitochondrial DNA control region (mtDNA-cr). We examined whether the population history or contemporary habitat constraints of this large and mobile carnivore could have significantly affected its genetic structure. We recorded nine mtDNA haplotypes, including five not previously reported. Lynx from Latvia and Estonia had the highest variability with haplotype and nucleotide diversities of 0.81–0.88% and 0.44–0.47%, respectively. In contrast, there was no polymorphism present in peripheral populations from Norway and the Carpathian Mountains. Lynx populations were strongly differentiated [analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA): Φ ST = 0.570, P < 0.001, F ST = 0.464, P < 0.001)]. Spatial Analysis of Molecular Variance identified four separate groups of populations: (1) Norway, Finland and Estonia; (2) Latvia and North Eastern Poland; (3) the Białowieża Primeval Forest; (4) the Carpathians. The patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation suggested a number of discrete populations that are poorly connected by contemporary gene flow and could therefore be considered demographically independent. The peripheral location of these populations, habitat fragmentation and the strict territorial structure of lynx populations are factors likely contributing to the observed patterns. The study provides suggestions for active conservation/management decisions including translocations or reintroductions of lynx.
Full-text available
Studying cryptic animals require dedicated field work and careful planning depending on the habitat and behavior of the target animal. However, use of camera traps now provides a non-invasive technique to detect and monitor wildlife, especially nocturnal carnivores; it can also be used to estimate population sizes of animals with special markings or patterns (Carbone et al. 2001, Balme et al. 2009). We have used systematic and opportunistic camera trapping in central and northeastern Turkey, respectively, to inventory local carnivore fauna. Our surveys yielded six Eurasian Lynx Lynx lynx photos in Artvin, and eight in Ankara, constituting the first time this species was documented by camera traps in Turkey.
Full-text available
We describe the use of camera-trapping with capture-recapture, occupancy and visitation rate modelling to study the size, demographic structure and distribution of the Persian leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor in Bamu National Park, southern Iran. A total sampling effort of 1,012 trap-nights yielded photo-captures of four adults, two subadult individuals and a cub over 21 sampling occasions. The leopard population size estimated by the M(h) model and jackknife estimator was 6.00 ± SE 0.24 individuals. This gives a density of 1.87 ± SE 0.07 leopards per 100 km2. Detection probability was constant and low and, as a result, estimated occupancy rate was significantly higher than that predicted from photographic capture sites alone. Occupancy was 56% of the protected area and visitation rates were 0.01–0.05 visits per day. The most imminent threats to leopards in Bamu are poaching and habitat fragmentation.
Full-text available
Widespread in the Caucasus until the mid-19th century, the Leopard, Panthera pardus, has become extinct in many areas of this region but is still able to survive in some others. We have compiled a database of 218 Leopard records dated 1861-2007 throughout the Caucasus (Russian North Caucasus, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia). Of these, 77 records of killing, 4 records of photo-captures (10 pictures), and 8 records of scat origin proof by faecal bile acid thin-layer chromatography were used as the most reliable indicators of the Leopard's presence. We discuss the history of the Leopard's postglacial emergence in the Caucasus, its habitats, scales of eradication, trends in Leopard extermination measures and range shrinkage within the study period, in separate sections under each of the four countries of the Caucasus. All recent and current Leopard records in the Caucasus are confined to central and eastern parts of the North Caucasus, south-eastern and north-eastern Georgia, south-eastern and western parts of Azerbaijan, and south-western and southern Armenia. All these parts of the range, except for the Talysh Mts in Azerbaijan, must be connected with southern Armenia which, in its turn, is linked with the much larger population in north-western Iran. The Talysh Mts stand isolated from the Caucasus Mountains and are directly linked with Iran.
Full-text available
Turkey (Turkiye) lies at the nexus of Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. Turkey's location, mountains, and its encirclement by three seas have resulted in high terrestrial, fresh water, and marine biodiversity. Most of Turkey's land area is covered by one of three biodiversity hotspots (Caucasus, Irano-Anatolian, and Mediterranean). Of over 9000 known native vascular plant species, one third are endemic. Turkey faces a significant challenge with regard to biodiversity and associated conservation challenges due to limited research and lack of translation into other languages of existing material. Addressing this gap is increasingly relevant as Turkey's biodiversity faces severe and growing threats, especially from government and business interests. Turkey ranks 140th out of 163 countries in biodiversity and habitat conservation. Millennia of human activities have dramatically changed the original land and sea ecosystems of Anatolia, one of the earliest loci of human civilization. Nevertheless, the greatest threats to biodiversity have occurred since 1950, particularly in the past decade. Although Turkey's total forest area increased by 5.9% since 1973, endemic-rich Mediterranean maquis, grasslands, coastal areas, wetlands, and rivers are disappearing, while overgrazing and rampant erosion degrade steppes and rangelands. The current "developmentalist obsession", particularly regarding water use, threatens to eliminate much of what remains, while forcing large-scale migration from rural areas to the cities. According to current plans, Turkey's rivers and streams will be dammed with almost 4000 dams, diversions, and hydroelectric power plants for power, irrigation, and drinking water by 2023. Unchecked urbanization, dam construction, draining of wetlands, poaching, and excessive irrigation are the most widespread threats to biodiversity. This paper aims to survey what is known about Turkey's biodiversity, to identify the areas where research is needed, and to identify and address the conservation challenges that Turkey faces today. Preserving Turkey's remaining biodiversity will necessitate immediate action, international attention, greater support for Turkey's developing conservation capacity, and the expansion of a nascent Turkish conservation ethic. (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.