Leopard carcass thought to belong to extinct species
by Anadolu Agency
TUNCELI, TurkeyJul 20, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Jul 20, 2015 12:00 am
Authorities report an animal carcass that was found in a stream bed in a town in the eastern Anatolian region of Tunceli is thought to belong to an endangered Anatolian leopard, a leopard subspecies native to southeastern Turkey that is believed to be extinct. As scientists are working to identify the animal, the possibility of re-discovering the Anatolian leopard has created a stir.
Ali Haydar Gürsönmez, manager of the regional branch of the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, announced that the animal carcass, which has lost most of its hair as it is decaying, is now under the ministry's protection. "We brought the carcass of the animal to our facility and collected tissue samples in order to conduct studies to identify it. We will send these tissue samples to the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey [TÜBİTAK], and hope to identify the carcass in a month," Gürsönmez said.
Stressing that Tunceli's geography offers a suitable habitat for the Anatolian leopard, Gürsönmez said: "We will be very happy if the carcass turns out to be an Anatolian leopard. The locals often report that they see Anatolian leopards in the region. However, it has not yet been proven. If the carcass is discovered to be an Anatolian leopard, our province will shelter a new species."
Tunceli's Boğalı village mayor Özgür Keskin said that they immediately alerted the authorities as soon as they discovered the animal carcass. Adding that elderly people report seeing the Anatolian leopard in the region from time to time, Keskin said: "We have not yet seen it alive, but our elderly villagers have seen these animals living in the area before. As the animal carcass was decomposing quickly due to water, we do not know its species. We called the authorities in order for the carcass to be studied."