Yılkı horses, or Anatolian free-roaming horses, freely wander the Kızılırmak Delta of Northern Turkey’s Samsun Province, displaying a unique view to nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.
In Turkish, yılkı means “a free horse living in its own environment.” Yılkı horses are usually former working horses abandoned in nature by their owners. Although these horses live in herds in the wild, the locals and nomads protect them so they can remain free.
Kızılırmak Delta, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, is located within the 19 Mayıs, Bafra and Alaçam districts of Samsun, encompassing 56,000 hectares of land.
There are around 300 yılkı horses living in colonies. They present an astonishing view that appeals to visitors and photographers.
The delta attracts tourists with the abundant wildlife it possesses. There are animals of many kinds; birds and water buffalos reside in the flooded forests, lakes and reed fields, along with other fauna and flora.
“Mandated by the presidency, Kızılırmak Delta, which is of international importance, has been declared as a must-protect zone. On the Black Sea coasts of Turkey, Kızılırmak Delta is one of the few places that has managed to preserve its natural beauty,” said the Chairman of Samsun Tourism Agencies Association Dilek Genç.
Annually 55,000-60,000 people visit the Delta, which is beautiful each and every season. "Our guests observe these animals from a distance. If they are patient enough, they get a chance for a closer look. Yılkı horses live in groups. Photographers that come to the Delta to take pictures of freely wandering horses spent almost an entire day working,” Genç said.
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