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


Karatas A., BULUT Ş., AKBABA B.

ZOOLOGY IN THE MIDDLE EAST, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09397140.2021.1924419
  • Title of Journal : ZOOLOGY IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Abstract

The Leopard, Panthera pardus, was thought to be extinct or on the verge of extinction in Turkey towards the end of the 20(th) 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 Sirnak 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.