|Panthera pardus tulliana
Distribution and habitat
The Anatolian leopard was first described on the basis of a single specimen in the extreme west of Asia Minor, near Izmir in Turkey. In eastern Turkey, their range converges with the range of Caucasian leopards. Anatolian leopards once prowled the forest and hill habitats of the Aegean, Mediterranean, and eastern Anatolian regions. During surveys carried out between 1993 and 2002, zoologists found evidence of leopards in the upper forest and alpine zones of the eastern Pontic Mountains, where human population is low. In this area their prey consists of wild ungulates including deer, chamois, wild goats, wild boar, mountain hare and Caucasian grouse.
In spring of 1992, fresh fecal pellets were found in Termessos National Park. Further data based on interviews with local people suggested that leopard populations survive in eastern Lycia and in parts of western Lycia.
It is unknown whether any leopards still exist in the wild in Anatolia. Extensive trophy hunting is thought to be the prime factor for the decline and possible extinction of the Anatolian leopard. One hunter named Mantolu Hasan killed at least fifteen leopards between 1930 and 1950.
In Israel, there were leopards until the 1980s and some unconfirmed reports of encounters with leopards in the Galilee and the Golan Heights. However, these specimen are supposedly Arabian leopards. In Syria, the last leopard is reputed to have been killed in 1963 in the Al-Ansariyah mountains, about 20 km (12 mi) from the Turkish border. Conservation status of leopards in Lebanon is not available.
Research and sightings
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. Some scientists think that the subspecies has become extinct, while others have reported that 13–15 individuals still remain in the wild. In 2001, one specimen was spotted in a locality called Dandi near the town of Mut in the Taurus Mountains in Turkey's Mediterranean Region, and another one around Muskili Brook on the eastern Black Sea. In 2002, a team of Big Cat Rescue began an inventory expedition at an altitude of around 2000 m. The expedition was started after photographer Cemal Gulas brought the team a photograph of a paw print, which they determined to be one of a leopard. During the expedition the team members sighted a leopard and succeeded in taking a photo and confirming the continued existence of leopards in Anatolia.
In 2003, remote sensing cameras captured an adult male leopard in the Vashlovani National Park in Georgia. This specimen is most likely a Persian leopard. Another sighting was reported in 2004 in Pokut Plateau.
The Kaplani of Samos Island in Greece
There are no recent reports of encounters with the animal in Greece, though at the end of the 18th century an Anatolian leopard from Asia Minor was forced, either by a flooding of the Maeander River or by wildfire, to swim over to the nearby Samos Island, where it became the apex predator and the scourge of domestic animals.
The Kaplani (Greek: Καπλάνι from Turkish: Kaplan meaning Tiger) was hunted by farmers and shepherds and was forced to take refuge in a cave. The entrance was documented as being blocked with large stones so that the animal would die out of hunger and thirst. After some time, a villager named Gerasimos Gliarmis opened a hole and climbed down the cave unarmed, in order to find the leopard's corpse. But the animal had managed to survive eating the remains of its old prey and drinking the water which had gathered in the cave's hollow. The leopard tried to fight his way out, but the villager's brother, Nikolaos Gliarmis, also climbed down the cave for help and managed to kill it. Gerasimos Gliarmis was injured by the wildcat in his chest and died a short time later from infection.
The dead leopard was embalmed and is today displayed at the Natural History Museum of the Aegean on Samos Island. The story of the animal and the exhibit inspired distinguished Greek author Alki Zei for her novel Wildcat under glass (Greek: Το καπλάνι της βιτρίνας, a.k.a. The Tiger in the Shop Window, 1963).
- Pardus, a Turkish Linux distribution named after the Anatolian leopard
- Ankaraspor A.Ş., Turkish football club which is nicknamed after the animal
- Khorozyan, I. (2008). "Panthera pardus ssp. saxicolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
- Valenciennes, M.A. (1856) Sur une nouvelle espèce de panthère tuée Comptes rendus. Académie des Sciences Paris. XLII: 1035–1039
- Khorozyan, I. G., Gennady, F., Baryshnikov, G. F. and Abramov, A. V. (2006) Taxonomic status of the leopard, Panthera pardus (Carnivora, Felidae) in the Caucasus and adjacent areas. Russian Journal of Theriology 5(1): 41–52
- Baskaya, S., Bilgili, E. (2004) Does the leopard Panthera pardus still exist in the Eastern Karadeniz Mountains of Turkey ? Oryx 38 (2): 228–232
- Ullrich, B., Riffel, M. (1993) New evidence for the occurrence of the Anatolian Leopard, Panthera pardus tulliana (Valenciennes, 1856), in Western Turkey. Mammalia 57: 5
- "The Antolian Leopard Foundation". Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- Perez I., Geffen, E., Mokady, O. (2006) Critically endangered Arabian leopards Panthera pardus nimr in Israel: estimating population parameters using molecular scatology. Oryx 40 (3): 295–301
- Masseti, M. (2009) Carnivores of Syria In: Neubert E, Amr Z, Taiti S, Gümüs B (eds.) Animal Biodiversity in the Middle East. Proceedings of the First Middle Eastern Biodiversity Congress, Aqaba, Jordan, 20–23 October 2008. ZooKeys 31: 229–252
- Antelava, N. (2004) Lone leopard spotted in Georgia. BBC News, 25 May 2004
- Natural History Museum of the Aegean
|Wikispecies has information related to: Panthera pardus tulliana|
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- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Panthera pardus saxicolor
- Leopards in Palestine Gazelle - The Palestinian Biological Bulletin
- Leopards .:. wild-cat.org : The story of the last Anatolian Leopard
- Anatolian Leopard Research Group: photos of footprints and scat