Anatolian Leopard population area covers all Mediterranean and Aegean provinces
The Anatolian Leopard, believed to be extinct in Turkey, has been found in the Mediterranean and Aegean provinces, according to the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks (DKMP). The DKMP reported that camera traps placed as part of a project in cooperation with Isparta University of Applied Sciences (ISUBÜ) found two individuals in the Western Mediterranean in 2019, with 58 different images obtained. The Anatolian leopard was last seen in Turkey in 1975, and there have been debates surrounding its existence ever since. However, since the project in 2019, it has become clear that the population area of the species extends from the Amanos Mountains in Kahramanmaraş to İzmir and inland to Afyonkarahisar.
To expand the research project, the DKMP and ISUBÜ began the “Investigation of the Distribution of Pars in the Mediterranean and Aegean Regions”, which is supported by the TÜBİTAK 1001-Research Support Programs Presidency (ARDEB). The project’s opening workshop was held in the Research Unit Meeting Room of Antalya Güllük Mountain (Termessos) National Park. The project will use over 1000 camera traps in 18 provinces, with the aim of obtaining new images of the Anatolian leopard and creating habitat maps of other fauna species living in these areas.
DKMP experts pointed out that the Anatolian leopard does not harm people in any way; thus far, no harm has been recorded or detected. The population findings are significant, and it is strictly forbidden to kill the animal; those who do face a fine of 1 million TL and a prison sentence of 3 to 5 years.
Experts are delighted with the records of the Anatolian Leopard’s existence and emphasized the need to protect this rare species.