ArticlePDF Available

Camera trap records confirm the survival of the Leopard ( Panthera pardus L., 1758) in eastern Turkey (Mammalia: Felidae)

Authors:

Abstract

The Leopard, Panthera pardus, was thought to be extinct or on the verge of extinction in Turkey towards the end of the 20th century. However, as leopards killed by local people were reported from the Turkish-Iraqi border area in the last two decades, we carried out field surveys in these regions in order to find out whether the species has survived. We set camera traps at more than 150 locations in Mardin, Siirt and Şırnak provinces in south-eastern Turkey in 2018 and 2019 and succeeded in obtaining altogether three pictures of leopards, probably of the same individual. The photographs, taken in July and December 2018, and in November 2019, are from two different sites on the northern slopes of Mount Cudi. Together with previous records, these observations indicate that a small population of the leopard has survived in the Turkish-Iraqi border area. Cudi Mountain may serve as a corridor for leopards moving between Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Our records comprise the first photographic evidence of living leopards in Turkey in the wild.
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=tzme20
Zoology in the Middle East
ISSN: (Print) (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tzme20
Camera trap records confirm the survival of the
Leopard (Panthera pardus L., 1758) in eastern
Turkey (Mammalia: Felidae)
Ahmet Karataş, Şafak Bulut & Burak Akbaba
To cite this article: Ahmet Karataş, Şafak Bulut & Burak Akbaba (2021): Camera trap records
confirm the survival of the Leopard (Panthera�pardus L., 1758) in eastern Turkey (Mammalia:
Felidae), Zoology in the Middle East, DOI: 10.1080/09397140.2021.1924419
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/09397140.2021.1924419
Published online: 05 May 2021.
Submit your article to this journal
View related articles
View Crossmark data
Zoology in the Middle East, 2021
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09397140.2021.1924419
*Corresponding author. Email: rousettus@hotmail.com
© 2021 Taylor & Francis
Camera trap records confirm the survival of the Leopard
(Panthera pardus L., 1758) in eastern Turkey (Mammalia: Felidae)
Ahmet Karataşa,*, Şafak Bulutb and Burak Akbabac
aDepartment of Biology, Niğde Ö. H. University, Niğde, Turkey;
bDepartment of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Hitit University, Çorum, Turkey;
cDepartment of Biology, Hacettepe University, Beytepe, Ankara, Turkey
(Received 25 December 2020; accepted 13 April 2021)
The Leopard, Panthera pardus, was thought to be extinct or on the verge of extinction
in Turkey towards the end of the 20th century. However, as leopards killed by local
people were reported from the Turkish-Iraqi border area in the last two decades, we
carried out field surveys in these regions in order to find out whether the species has
survived. We set camera traps at more than 150 locations in Mardin, Siirt and Şırnak
provinces in south-eastern Turkey in 2018 and 2019 and succeeded in obtaining alto-
gether three pictures of leopards, probably of the same individual. The photographs,
taken in July and December 2018, and in November 2019, are from two different sites
on the northern slopes of Mount Cudi. Together with previous records, these observa-
tions indicate that a small population of the leopard has survived in the Turkish-Iraqi
border area. Cudi Mountain may serve as a corridor for leopards moving between Tur-
key, Iraq and Iran. Our records comprise the first photographic evidence of living
leopards in Turkey in the wild.
Keywords: Carnivora; threatened mammals; Anatolia; Şırnak; Mount Cudi; distribu-
tion
Introduction
The Leopard Panthera pardus (Linnaeus, 1758), one of the most charismatic species of
the Turkish fauna, is known to inhabit the territory of present-day Turkey since 6000
BC (Borner 1977; Ullrich & Riffel, 1993). Scientific studies on the species in Turkey
began with the description of a new species Felis tulliana in 1856 by the French zoolo-
gist Achille Valenciennes, who examined a leopard hunted at Mount Nif near İzmir
(Valenciennes, 1856). In the second half of the 20th century, leopard numbers decreased
and individuals that were detected often became subject in local and national newspa-
pers. While the status of the species in Turkey remained unclear towards the end of the
20th century, Kasparek and Kasparek (1990) concluded that this species is most proba-
bly extinct in Turkey and even though some individuals might have survived, they are
unlikely to form a healthy and viable population.
For about three decades, hard evidence for the presence of leopards in Turkey did
not exist. Avgan et al. (2016) reported an individual killed at Mt. Gabar in Şırnak prov-
ince in 2010 and another near Çınar in Diyarbakır province in 2013, together with an
unconfirmed record from Bitlis province in 2001 (see also Toyran, 2018). These records
from south-eastern Turkey, together with other records in northern Iraq (Avgan et al.,
2016) showed that the leopard still existed in the Turkish-Iraqi border area. We carried
Published online 05 May 2021
... In addition to the Eurasian lynx, for which multiple lineages and haplotypes are present in Anatolia, previous studies have demonstrated that Anatolia harbors extensive intraspecific diversity in many other terrestrial mammals, among them the brown bear [15], the gray wolf [72], the red fox [73], the marbled polecat [74], the stone marten [34], the ground squirrel [75], the brown hare [69,70], and the house mouse [76]. Molecular genetic studies of taxa in Anatolia thus provide valuable information about how biodiversity is generated and maintained in many species, as well as providing a framework to address current conservation needs for a host of threatened and endangered species (e.g., mountain and sand gazelles [77], leopard [78]). ...
Article
Full-text available
Previous molecular studies of the wide-ranging Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx focused mainly on its northern Palearctic populations, with the consequence that the reconstruction of this species’ evolutionary history did not include genetic variation present in its southern Palearctic distribution. We sampled a previously not considered Asian subspecies (L. l. dinniki), added published data from another Asian subspecies (L. l. isabellinus), and reassessed the Eurasian lynx mtDNA phylogeny along with previously published data from northern Palearctic populations. Our mitogenome-based analyses revealed the existence of three major clades (A: Central Asia, B: SE Europe/SW Asia, C: Europe and Northern Asia) and at least five lineages, with diversification in Lynx lynx commencing at least 28kyr earlier than hitherto estimated. The subspecies L. l. isabellinus harbors the most basal matriline, consistent with the origin of Lynx lynx in this subspecies’ current range. L. l. dinniki harbors the second most basal matriline, which is related to, and may be the source of, the mtDNA diversity of the critically endangered Balkan lynx L. l. balcanicus. Our results suggest that the Anatolian peninsula was a glacial refugium for Eurasian lynx, with previously unconsidered implications for the colonization of Europe by this species.
... Türkiye'de son yıllarda fotokapan kullanılarak, yaban hayvanlarının korunması ve izlenmesi amacıyla birçok bilimsel çalışma yapılmıştır (Mengüllüoğlu, 2010;Soyumert, 2010;Soyumert ve Gürkan, 2013;Akbaba, 2016;Keten, 2016;Nabioğlu ve Keten, 2016;Özkazanç ve ark., 2017;Nabioğlu ve Keten, 2016;Kılıç, 2018;Özkazanç, 2018;Kahraman ve Keten, 2019;Özay, 2019;Özkazanç, 2019;Ünal ve Çuhalcı, 2019;Ulutürk ve Yürümez, 2019;Ünal ve ark., 2019;Akbaba ve Bulut, 2020;Soyumert, 2020;Özcan, 2021). Türkiye'deki yaban hayatı çalışmalarında fotokapan kullanımı, tür çeşitliliğinin belirlenmesi (Mengüllüoğlu, 2010;Özkazanç ve ark., 2017;Özay, 2019), bir ailenin izlenmesi (Keten, 2016), tek türün izlenmesi (İlemin and Gürkan, 2010;Soyumert, 2010;Çoğal ve ark., 2016;Karataş et al., 2021;Özcan, 2021), popülasyon yoğunluklarının belirlenmesi (Ünal ve Çulhacı, 2019), üreme davranışının izlenmesi (Soyumert, 2020), habitat tercihlerinin belirlenmesi (Tokmak ve Ambarlı, 2018;Nabioğlu ve Keten, 2016), ormancılık uygulamalarının yaban hayatı üzerindeki olumlu ve olumsuz etkilerinin anlaşılması (Kahraman and Keten, 2019) gibi çok farklı amaçlara odaklanılmıştır. Bununla birlikte nesli tehlike durumunda olan veya Anadolu coğrafyasınına yeni dağılım yapan türlerde tespit edilmiştir (Naderi et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Türkiye, sahip olduğu mevcut konum ve topografik özellikleri bakımından memeli türleri için farklı habitatlar sunaktadır. Avrupa ülkeleri ve aynı enlemde olan gelişmiş ülkelere nazaran daha korunmuş yüksek bir biyoçeşitlilik değerine sahiptir. Türkiye'de 6 takımdan 36 familyaya ait 172 memeli türü bulunmaktadır. Türkiye memeli faunasındaki 172 karasal ve denizel memeli türü, IUCN tarafından hazırlanan küresel Kırmızı Liste ile bölgesel (Akdeniz ve Avrupa) değerlendirmeleri dikkate alınarak irdelenmiştir. Sadece tehdit altındaki (CR, EN, VU) veya yakın tehdit altındaki (NT) kategoriler-deki türler belirlenmiştir. Buna göre, Akdeniz, Avrupa ve küresel olarak tehdit kategorilerinden en az birinde yer alan toplam 45 tür olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Bu makalede elde edilen bulgular Koruma Biyolojisi açısından önemli veriler içermektedir ve sadece literatür çalışması değil ayrıca uzmanların arazi gözlemlerinden elde edilen tecrübelerden de yararlanılmıştır. Türkiye memeli türleri ile ilgili kritik türler değer-lendirilirken bu çalışmasın baz alınması önerilir. ABSTRACT Turkey offers different habitats for mammal species in terms of its geographical situation and topographic features. So, Turkey has a higher protected biodiversity value than European countries and developed countries at the same latitude. There are 172 mammal species belonging to 36 families from 6 orders in Turkey. 172 terrestrial and marine mammal species in Turkey's mammal fauna are eveluated, considering the regional (Mediterranean and European) assessments and the global Red List as IUCN. Only species in threatened (CR, EN, VU) or near threatened (NT) categories were evaluated. Accordingly, it has been determined that there are a total of 45 species in at least one of the threat categories in the Mediterranean, Europe and globally.
Article
Full-text available
This study aims to document the existence and habitat preferences of the Anatolian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana Valenciennes, 1856) in north-eastern Anatolia, Turkey. We sampled eleven study areas in 2013–2017, primarily based on our previous field experiences, reports from local people, and literature. Based on the findings from initial surveys, camera traps and leopard studies were mostly used in parts of the Giresun (Sarıçiçek Mountain), Erzincan (Sansa Strait), and Bingöl (Yedisu Valley) Provinces. We employed both direct observations and indirect observations. A total of 58 observations were recorded, ranging from 1176–3050 meters in altitude: six camera trap pictures, three thermal video camera images, three sightings by local people, 28 sets of tracks, 13 pieces of scat, two ground-scrapings, and three tree-scratches belonging to the Anatolian leopard. We defined eight habitat types and found that leopards preferred sparse forest areas, rocky habitats, and agriculture and pasture regions the most. Furthermore, 49 of 58 observations made in the sampling areas were detected in the southerly aspects of the study region. The Anatolian leopard habitat selection is mainly based on prey abundance, and we found that leopards prefer wild boar (Sus scrofa) the most, followed by wild goat (Capra aegagrus), chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus).
Chapter
Full-text available
Contents: Introduction; Leopard; Striped Hyena; Eurasian Lynx; Brown Bear; Conclusions; Acknowledgements; References; Suggested citation.
Article
Full-text available
New data from camera traps in the Talysh Mountains (southern Azerbaijan) show that the Hirkan Forest is one of the last permanent habitats of the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) in Transcaucasia. It hosts about 3-5 adult individuals and the species has always existed there. This is probably the most stable micropopulation in the country. Preservation of the species in the area will be beneficial for the conservation of the leopard not only in Azerbaijan but also in the Caucasus in general.
Article
This study attempts to link the distribution and movement rate of the critically endangered Arabian Leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) to environmental and anthropogenic features, and to identify environmental constraints and priority areas for the recovery of leopard in Arabian Peninsula. Generalized linear and additive models were used to fit leopard presence/absence locations to environmental and anthropogenic variables. Movement rates between the polygons of modeled leopard presence were inferred and mapped using the isolation-by-resistance model, where probability values of the species distribution model were treated as those of conductance. Our results suggest that currently the Arabian Leopard prefers to live and move in terrain that has high values of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and is difficult for humans to reach. The current network of protected areas largely under-represents the species suitable habitat only covering its 11%, and most of the survey effort to detect and ensure the survival of the leopard in the peninsula has taken place outside the polygons identified by our models as core areas for the species. Our models coupled with existing data suggest the following scenario of the species biogeography: The Arabian Leopard accumulated genetic and phenotypic differences from its conspecifics at a series of glacial maxima during the last glacial period in the Yemeni refugium, from where it expanded elsewhere in the Holocene warming following the expansion of suitable landscape types. Humans expanded too, eventually restricting the source populations of the leopard to an area intersecting eastern Yemen and western Oman today. Our models may serve as a tool for planning future research and conservation for Arabian Leopard.
Article
Interand intraspecific variation of fruit bats of the genus Rousettus in Iran were examined. Morphometric analyses of 7 external and 21 craniodental characters of material from southeast Iran showed that two species are found there, R. aegyptiacus and R. leschenaultii. Phylogenetic trees inferred from Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood analyses of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) marker revealed that R. aegyptiacus populations are divided into five lineages and the Iranian population clustered with the Middle East samples. The result showed very low genetic variation between different populations of R. leschenaultii throughout its range in the Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan realms.
Article
Located at the crossroad of the Palearctic, Saharo-Arabian, and Oriental zoogeographic realms, and with its great environmental diversity, Iran harbors a high complexity and richness of fauna and flora. Knowledge about the Iranian mammal fauna has greatly increased over recent years thanks to the growing availability of molecular tools, which brought marked changes in taxonomy, but also because of intensive field surveys resulting in growing distributional data. These data are, however, scattered throughout numerous publications and unpublished sources, most of which are difficult to access. Here, we present a comprehensive review of the current mammal species taxonomies with an update on systematics and their spatial distribution based on all possible sources spanning the period between 1758 and today. We updated the geographical distribution of all Iranian land mammals, providing their regional extent of occurrence and area of occupancy, as well as mapped species richness. Based on this information, we then assessed the conservation status of Iran’s mammals using the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List criteria, providing a regional status assessment. The current species list of terrestrial mammals of Iran comprises 192 species from 34 families, of which eight species are endemics. Since the publication of Karami et al. (2008), 13 new species or new records have been added to the mammals of Iran and 32 changes in classification or nomenclature have been made. The Alborz and Zagros mountains accumulate the highest species richness. Nearly 13% of the species in Iran are threatened, and a further 14% are near to qualifying for threatened status. With the current review, we provide an up-to-date summary of the current knowledge about the terrestrial mammals of Iran that can serve as a guideline for mammalogists, a reference for monitoring regional biodiversity status and trends, and a framework for planning management actions to sustain biodiversity conservation.
Article
The continuing existence of the Anatolian Leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana) in western Turkey has long been questioned due to the lack of new data. During several visits to southwestern Anatolia between 1985 and 1992, new information has been obtained. The finding of fresh fecal pellets in spring 1992 indicates the survival of the species in the Termessos National Park. Further data based on interviews with local people suggests that Leopazd populations survive in eastern Lycia and in parts of western Lycia.