Turkey’s preservation efforts save species from extinction

The wildlife is dwindling amid urbanization and other man-made factors but hope prevails against extinction due to the efforts of several organizations and countries. Turkey for its part, marks World Wildlife Day, observed on March 3, with the pride of having saved four species on the brink of extinction. Wildlife breeding stations across the country give them a safe environment to thrive and intervention in the case of injured animals which are treated and released back into nature also contribute to the preservation efforts.

Breeding stations across Anatolia run by the Directorate of Nature Protection and Natural Parks of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry put an end to concerns for Anatolian wild sheep, gazelles, European fallow deer and bald ibis and saved them from extinction.

Turkey declared 85 areas across the country as “wildlife development areas” and actively protects animals there, in an area covering more than 1.1 million hectares (2.72 million acres). Wildlife areas are home to diverse species, from the abovementioned animals to waterfowl, wild goats, striped hyenas, Caucasian grouse, pheasant, desert monitor, caracal to Euphrates softshell turtle and brown bear.

Thirteen breeding stations cater to the needs of wild species across the country. In the past five years, 1,104 animals were born in these stations, all from endangered species from fallow deer to bald ibis. After spending their early days in the stations, they are released into nature. Between 2003 and 2020, 1,869 animals were released into nature after they were born in those stations. The bald ibis was at the worst state among them, in terms of extinction. There were only 42 bald ibises in the country in 2000 and this number, as of February, has increased to 300, thanks to a breeding station set up in their homeland Berecik, a town in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.

When in nature, animals are not abandoned to their fate. Both the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as well as other public agencies, local administrations and charities supply food to wild animals, especially during winter when they have little access to food and water. The ministry’s crews left 1.7 million kilos (1,873 tons) of feed for animals in one year.

Wild animals also find shelter at veterinary clinics run by the Directorate of Nature Protection and Natural Parks, which treated some 5,450 wild animals last year and released them into nature.

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