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The wildcat Felis silvestris in northern Turkey: assessment of status using camera trapping

  • Özgün Emre Can (a1), İrfan Kandemi̇r (a2) and İnci̇ Togan (a3)
Abstract

The wildcat Felis silvestris is a protected species in Turkey but the lack of information on its status is an obstacle to conservation initiatives. To assess the status of the species we interviewed local forestry and wildlife personnel and conducted field surveys in selected sites in northern, eastern and western Turkey during 2000–2007. In January–May 2006 we surveyed for the wildcat using 16 passive infrared-trigged camera traps in Yaylacı k Research Forest, a 50-km2 forest patch in Yenice Forest in northern Turkey. A total sampling effort of 1,200 camera trap days over 40 km2 yielded photo-captures of eight individual wildcats over five sampling occasions. Using the software MARK to estimate population size the closed capture–recapture model M0, which assumes a constant capture probability among all occasions and individuals, best fitted the capture history data. The wildcat population size in Yaylacı k Research Forest was estimated to be 11 (confidence interval 9–23). Yenice Forest is probably one of the most important areas for the long-term conservation of the wildcat as it is the largest intact forest habitat in Turkey with little human presence, and without human settlements, and with a high diversity of prey species. However, it has been a major logging area and is not protected. The future of Yenice Forest and its wildcat population could be secured by granting this region a protection status and enforcing environmental legislation.

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Corresponding author
Department of Biology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. E-mail emre.can@daad-alumni.de
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Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
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