Anatolian lynx caught by the photo-traps

01 Apr 2011

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Vaşak (Lynx lynx), short tailed, spotted, strong and the biggest one among the cat species in Turkey has been photographed with her babies by Kuzey Doğa (North Nature) Society in the town of Sarıkamış, Kars.

New Horizons - This picture demonstrates that lynx has been breeding as a rare species of Sarıkamış Allahuekber Mountains National Parks in Kars which hosts to a great number of mammals such as wolf, bear, wild cat, wild boar, marten, fox and roe deer as well.

Lynx is five times as heavy as a feral cat and males can get a weight of thirty kilos. In addition to this, this animal can catch the hunts ten times bigger than itself.

A 220 kilo-weight red deer had been lately recorded among its hunts. Generally, lynx hunts small rodents, rabbits, birds, roe deer and mountain goats.

Because the number of adult lynxes between one and three can leave in a territory about 100 square kilometres, they prefer living in big and protected areas.

Hence, lynxes have become extinct in some Europe countries. It was recorded that sometimes lynxes can be killed by the wolves.

The name of this animal in Latin and English, “Lynx” comes from the origin of the Indo-European word “Leuk”, that means “Light”, because of the animal’s big and bright eyes. With the help of reflective layers (Tapetum lucidum) take place in their eyes, lynxes are able to see very well at nights.

How have they been caught?

The president of Kuzey Doğa Society, Dr. Çağan Çekercioğlu explained how these lynxes have been photographed for the first time in East Anatolia.

According to the society official, a lynx, with its two babies walked in front of the photo traps in Sarıkamış Allahuekber Mountain National Parks. It was the second cat species viewed in this area.

This study’s being done in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forest, General Directorate of Nature Protection and Natural Parks, Kars Provincial Directorate of Environment and Forestry and Kafkas University.

These special cameras, having warmth and motion sensors, take photos of wild animals those walking in front of them.

They have being settled to the areas under the leadership of Emrah Coban, the science director of Kuzey Doğa Society, to take photos of wild animals that could exist.

The photos have being analysed by controlling the photo traps regularly, so that the living species and the numbers of them can be determined.

It is almost impossible to observe the wild animals especially like felines being active at nights; but it can be possible to determine the extinction of the livings with the help of the photo traps.

In this photo which was taken at 03:06 in the morning, a lynx and the two babies after their mother have been walking in front of the photo trap. The second baby’s been looking at the machine curiously.

Rare species

The officials guess these babies might have been born in last year in spring; because the babies normally live with their mother about 10 months after they are born.

To take the photos of a rare animal with its babies such as lynx known as the “ghost of forest” has shown that, the photo trap studies have been very important about the scientific researches and protecting the nature.

Kuzey Doğa Society implements the project aiming at researching the large carnivore species of Sarıkamış, reducing the large carnivore-human conflict and developing wildlife tourism in Sarıkamış Forests, Allahuekber Mountains National Park in association with the directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks of Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the financial support that’s been given by SGP/GEF/UNDP and Born Free Foundation of Britain.

For more information:

Kuzey Doğa (North Nature) Society: www.kuzeydoga.org

GEF Small Grants Programme in Turkey: www.gefsgp.net

Photo on this page is taken by Batur Avgan © 2011

Coloured photo: Çiğlikara Nature Protection Area, Antalya, 10 September 2010

B/W pics on gallery: Sarıkamış Allahuekber Mountains National Park, Kars, 8 October 2010, taken by the project staff.