Turkey turns to tracking devices to preserve endangered species

The main wildlife authority hopes tracking devices fitted to members of endangered species will improve efforts to protect them. Wild sheep, gazelles, European fallow deer, wild goats, common crane, Dalmatian pelican, eastern imperial eagle, steppe eagle and other species benefit from the monitoring program of the General Directorate of Nature Protection and National Parks.

Monitoring will help locate animal habitats, migration routes and breeding grounds. It is part of an action plan for the preservation of a hundred species.

The common crane, a popular animal in Turkish folklore known as “turna”, is one of the most followed animals. Recent monitoring showed that Sivas in central Turkey was their main habitat and a wetland area including Kızılırmak, a major river in the region, and Lake Tödürge was their main residence. Authorities now plan to declare two sites as Wildlife Enhancement Area, a preservation status.

Data from tracking devices also revealed that the adult eastern imperial eagle had not migrated from Anatolia, but that its hatchling was apparently searching for new, more suitable habitats, but to no avail. The main breeding ground of the eagles was near the forests between the provinces of Bolu and Çankırı. So far only one imperial eagle has left Turkey and headed for Dagestan in the North Caucasus.

The Steppe eagle population is in “critical condition” according to tracking device data, although they remain largely migratory, heading to Chad or Cameroon in winter.

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