Wolf (Canis lupus) Satellite Tracking Project
Küçük akbaba (Neophron percnopterus) ülkemizde görülen dört tür akbabadan en küçüğü ve dünya çapında soyu en tehlikede olanıdır. Hayvan leşleri, çöpler, diğer kuşların yumurtaları, ufak omurgalılar ve küçük böceklerle beslenir. Dünyadaki nüfusu hızla düşen küçük akbaba ülkemizde hala düzenli olarak üremektedir; fakat küçük akbaba Türkiye’deki tüm kuş türleri arasında durumu küresel boyutta en hızla kötüye giden kuş türüdür. Kars ve Iğdır illerindeki Arpaçay kanyonu ve Aras vadisi küçük akbabanın Doğu Anadolu bölgesindeki önemli yaşama alanları arasındadır. Ancak bu alanların ikisinin de herhangi bir koruma statüsü bulunmamaktadır. KuzeyDoğa Derneği olarak, Orman ve Su İşleri Bakanlığı, Doğa Koruma ve Milli Parklar Genel Müdürlüğü (DKMP) ve Utah Üniversitesi işbirliğiyle dünyada nesli tehlike altında olan Küçük Akbaba’nın Türkiye’de ilk defa uydu vericisi takılarak takibine başladık. Bu sayede dünya çapında nesli tehlike altında olan küçük akbabanın dolaştığı ve beslendiği yerler, göç rotası ve kullandığı doğal alanlar hakkında detaylı bilgi sahibi olunacaktır.
The project started in 2011 in collaboration between Kuzey Doga Foundation, University of Utah, Environmental Protection and National Parks Headquarters, and Turkcell Communication Services. As the first study of catching and tracking wolves, the project showed how small of an area Sarikamis Forest - Allahuekber Mountains National Park region is for big mammals. Large wildlife need large protected areas to thrive. The wolves, tracked through satellite devices, have been using an area 23 times larger than the national park within the frame of a year. The results of this study is the most solid evidence for the human danger on wildlife in Turkey, as four out of five wolves that were tracked have been hunted or killed within 10 months. Three of them were young, and two were adults – it showed an 80% rate of wolves not able to complete a year and all died due to human factors. The fact that two of them were killed due to car accidents shows that the roads in the Sarikamis forest, especially the new Kars-Erzurum highway is dangerous for wildlife. There have been 10 wolves that have been tracked in this project to date.To summarize the goals of the project:
To measure the area of the wolves’ habitat, and to study their seasonal behaviours.
To create preventative measures for potential human – wolf conflicts.
To estimate the long term wolf populations in Turkey, through data from research being undertaken in Sarikamis.
KuzeyDoga Foundation's wolf tracking project, which is a first in Turkey, has yielded results that scientifically show how small the protected habitat of wolves are, and how dangerous humans and roads are for wildlife. A 2.,5 year old male wolf, Doga, walked 5423 kilometers in a year. He used 5324 km2 of space, which approximately amounts to the surface area of Istanbul. Kuzey, who walked 2181 kilometers in the 10 months before he died, used 1160 km2 of space, and has become a symbol for the thousands of animals who end up as roadkill.
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) Satellite Tracking Project
At Kuzey Doga Foundation, we started the Grizzly Bear Satellite Tracking Project in 2012 which aimed to study the ecology of Turkey’s Grizzly Bear and identify methods to prevent conflicts between humans and bears. The Grizzly Bear is Turkey’s largest land mammal and is a symbolic species for Turkey. The project involved attaching a satellite tracking device on 34 grizzly bears, providing GPS location data. National Geographic also attached cameras on the bears to provide video imagery. Both GPS location data and video imagery was used to observe the behaviours of grizzly bears. This project was a first in the world!.
The data obtained showed the significance of Turkey's first wildlife corridor that was proposed by KuzeyDoga in 2008 and created by the Ministry of Forestry and Water Resources in 2012. To summarize the goals of this project:
To measure the area of grizzly bear habitat and seasonal behaviours.
Take preventative measures for potential human – bear conflicts.
To estimate future grizzly bear populations in Turkey, using data from the Sarikamis region.
With leadership by KuzeyDoga Foundation president Assoc. Prof. Sekercioglu, Eastern Turkey's Wildlife Research and Protection project involved participation from researchers from Zurich, Caucasus, Zagreb and Bogazici Universities. As a part of the results, the world's first migrant grizzly bears were spotted in Sarikamis province of Kars.
The researchers from the various universities attached satellite tracking devices to select bears from the Sarikamis grizzly bear population and identified that bears residing in Sarikamis forests migrate approximately 250 kilometers to Artvin – Şavşat and return for the winter season to hibernate.
The study was published in the Journal of Zoology in Britain ( click here for the publication).
Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) Satellite Tracking Project
Kuzey Doga Foundation, in association with Environmental Protection and National Parks Headquarters, have collaborated with researchers from Utah, Zagreb, Caucasus, Bogazici, and Zurich Universities for the “Eastern Anatolia Wildlife Research and Protection Project”. In efforts that lasted 1.5 years, the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), which is one of the world’s most elusive animals, has become the first animal to be caught and satellite tracked in Turkey. It was symbolic for KuzeyDoğa that the first lynx as part of this project was caught on World Environment Day on June 5.
The team attached a 350 gram collar with GSM/GPS to the five year old male named Işık (definition: light), who weighed 15.,3 kilograms. The fur of the lynx was found to be relatively cleaner, well- groomed and without any external parasites, unlike the furs of the grizzly bear and wolves. The GSM/GPS collar with the latest technology have been recording the lynx's GPS coordinates every hour and sending it as an SMS text to the cell phones of the team members. This way, the places that the lynx goes, the amount of time it wanders, the size of the area it uses, and other location behaviour are tracked. The first data that was sent from Işık showed that he didn’t leave the forest and had walked 52km in 8 days, amounting to approximately 70 km2 of area. After a year of observation, the collar will automatically drop off Işık’s neck.
The Eurasian LLynx is the largest of the cat family that is commonly seen in Turkey. It is spotted, has a short tail, and is very strong.. The motion-sensor cameras KuzeyDoga Foundation had placed in various areas of the Sarikamis region of Kars recorded a litter of Caucasus Lynxes (Lynx lynx dinniki), a globally endangered species. This way KuzeyDoga had evidence that a population of the Caucasus Lynx does inhabit and reproduce in Sarikamis. Locally named “Vaşak”, lynxes they are incredible hunters and are the largest wild cats of Turkey. The lynx is five times heavier than a house cat and is able to hunt prey that's 10 times heavier than it's own weight. The main diet of the lynx in Sarıkamış is wild rabbit (Lepus europeaus) and rodents.