Gazelles to be released in Mardin, Şırnak mountains
There are plans for a species of mountain gazelles, “gazelle subgutturosa,” raised in Şanlıurfa’s Kızılkuyu wildlife field to be released in the southeast provinces of Mardin and Şırnak, which possess the same features as the Şanlıurfa region, according to İsrafil Erdoğan, the third regional director of the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry’s Directorate of Nature Protection and National Parks.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Erdoğan said the gazelles raised in the Kızılkuyu field have been released to nature from time to time and nearly 1,000 gazelles have been released to their natural habitat so far.
The director said the gazelles have sometimes been in danger because of the region’s close proximity to settlement areas, and they have continued reproducing while the region has an ample gazelle population.
The directorate has spoken with the ministry to send the gazelles to various regions, he said.
“Our work has revealed there is a large gazelle population in the field. We believe the region has attained a sufficient population of gazelles. When they are left in nature, the gazelles continue reproducing and their population is increasing. Because this field is very close to the residential areas, we think it will be unable to shelter more animals,” said Erdoğan.
“As a result of the talks with the ministry officials, we will continue to breed gazelles but we don’t plan to release them here. If the ministry approves, we plan to release the animals to proper fields in Mardin and Şırnak. We know the gazelles have existed in these fields in the past, too,” he said.
During their mating period, the gazelles, especially the pregnant ones, are under the protection of officials for 24 hours, said the director.
Compared to previous years, the region has been experiencing a period of drought, so the ministry placed watering troughs in different spots and streams for the animals, said Erdoğan.
“In doing so, we used materials that would survive in the region for many years. The troughs are filled with rainwater or water from the stream and wild animals drink from it,” he said.
During periods of snowfall, Erdoğan said they leave forage for herbivores and pieces of bones for carnivores, so the animals could feed.
He also said the directorate’s provincial organizations undertake in the protection of wildlife in the cities.
Furthermore, Erdoğan said the torture of animals is a crime.
“We have cats, dogs and draught animals that share the same environment with us in the cities. There was no organization that protected against the torture of these animals and so on. Thanks to personal efforts by Minister Veysel Eroğlu, they are now under our protection. The Animal Protection Law no. 5199 has been made. We are responsible with coordinating and implementing this law. People have begun to receive penalties for their mistreatment of animals. In our region, we have fined more than 100 people over 300,000 Turkish Liras,” he said.
Some people share their living areas with animals as well, said the director. “We have damaged their habitats and have forced them to live in other places far from their habitats. I hope we will continue to be more tolerant to animals without having to punish more people for mistreating them,” he said.