Kuyucuk bird paradise popular in ecotourism
KARS – Anadolu Agency
AA photoKuyucuk Lake, which is home to 232 birds species in the eastern province of Kars’ Arpaçay district, has become a favorite ecotourism spot for local and foreign tourists.
Turkey’s 13rd field to be taken under protection as part of the Ramsar Convention, Kuyucuk is located within the borders of Arpaçay, 40 kilometers away from the city center.
The bird paradise covers an area of 416 hectares, 245 hectares of which is the lake. It is located 1,627 meters above sea level.
Among the species sheltered in the lake are ruddy shelducks, mallards, black-necked grebes, starlings and graylag geese.
The lake is very popular among photography aficionados as well as bird watchers.
Associated Prof. Çağan Şekercioğlu, the Northern Nature Association chairman and an academic at the University of Utah and Istanbul’s Koç University, said Kuyucuk Lake was the most important bird paradise in the Eastern Anatolian region.
He said that the lake was declared a Wildlife Improvement Field in 2005 and recognized as Turkey’s 13th Ramsar site, and the first between Samsun and Adana, in 2010.
Tens of thousands of birds
Şekercioğlu said he was amazed when he came to the lake for the first time in 2004.
“The day I came here, we counted more than 40,000 birds. Now again tens of thousands of birds are on the lake and it makes us very happy. Spring, the end of September and the beginning of October are the times when the number of the lake’s birds reaches its maximum. As the association, we count the birds on the lake every year at different times and follow them,” he said.
Şekercioğlu said this year the lake was continuing its richness with a high number of birds, adding, “We are very happy this year. Because the drought that happened two years ago does not occur this year, the lake is very beautiful. There are more than 20,000 birds on the lake today. We counted 10,000 ruddy shelducks, the symbol of the lake. We also identified 55 bird species.”
Şekericoplu said Lake Kuyucuk had become an ecotourism center, and continued:
“We showed the unique beauty of the lake to our Italian guests, eco-tourists. The Ramsar Site Kuyucuk Lake has a bird observation field and a nice visitor house. Even as Turkey had a tourism crisis, visitors continued coming to the lake. They can’t get enough of visiting this place, which makes us very happy. This place is home to tens thousands of birds and also locals get income from ecotourism.”