Anatolian Leopard

The Anatolian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana) was once described as a distinct subspecies of leopard native to Asia Minor, Turkey . However, modern Taxonomic Analyses have demonstrated that the leopards of Asia Minor differ genetically not much from other west-and central Asian leopards and should therefore be included into the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor). It is unknown whether any leopards still exist in the wild in Anatolia .

Distribution/Physical Features
These animals once prowled the forest and hill regions of Aegean , West Mediterranean , East Mediterranean , and East Anatolia . Adults grow 200-250 centimeters long and may weigh up to 90 kg; their lifespan is approximately 20 years. In Israel , there were Anatolian leopards until the 1980s, there were also some unconfirmed reports of encounters with leopards in the Galilee , and the Golan Heights .

In the wild, the leopard's prey consists of wild ungulates, which include deer, chamois, mountain goats, and occasionally wild boar. The animal would also go after birds and domestic livestock, if needed.

The last official sighting of the Anatolian leopard was in 1974. The animal was killed after an attack on a woman in Bağözü village , Beypazarı 5 km from Beypazarı. Although some scientists have suggested the subspecies has become extinct, others have suggested that there are still between 10-15 leopards in the wild. In 2001, the animal was spotted in the locality called " Dandi " near the town of Mut in the Taurus Mountains in Turkey 's Mediterranean Region, and around Muskili Brook on the eastern Black Sea . In 2003 remote sensing cameras captured an adult male Anatolian Leopard in the Vashlovani National Park in Georgia . Another sighting was reported in 2004 in Pokut Plateau. In 2002 the team at the Big Cat Rescue began an inventory expedition at an altitude of around 2000 meters. The expedition was started because photographer Cemal Gulas brought the team a photograph of a paw print which they determined to be that of an Anatolian Leopard. On the expedition, the team sighted an Anatolian Leopard but it evaded them before a photo could be taken. The next day, the team succeeded in photographing the leopard and confirmed its continued existence. It is, however, believed that there are only 10-15 members of this species left in the wild.Today,Anatolian Leopard Foundation is making a research in Mt Taurus with trap cameras. Researcher Selim Guray and his group found some track in the forest.

Cause for Decline
It was thought that extensive trophy hunting was the prime factor in the decline and possible extinction of the Anatolian leopard. One hunter named Mantolu Hasan, singlehandedly killed at least fifteen of these animals, possibly as many as fifty.

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