Population of endangered mountain gazelles in Turkey grows

Population of endangered mountain gazelles in Turkey grows

Population of endangered mountain gazelles in Turkey grows

The number of the endangered mountain gazelles, also known as “Gazella gazellas,” in the southern province of Hatay, is growing, while the species’ population in the world is dwindling, local authorities said on Jan. 21.

With the latest spotting, the population of the mountain gazelles has gone up by 23 percent in a year from 925 and reached 1,141.

“There are only around 3,000 of these animals across the globe,” said Nuri Akın, the provincial head of the Nature Conservation and National Parks.

A subspecies of the Gazella gazella, endemic to Hatay’s Kırıkhan and Reyhanlı districts and some areas in Syria, was discovered in 2008.

Within years, a protection zone has been designated for the animals in the province, to which they have been confined due to increased number of walls on the border with the war-struck neighboring Syria.

“Some 35 experts in 49 observation plots counted the Gazella gazellas in three days, starting from Jan. 8. We found exactly 1,141 animals. Last year, the number was 925,” noted Akın.

According to Akın, their population in 2013 in Hatay was only 235.

“Over the years, their population has increased rapidly. This makes us happy,” he added.

Strict measures are taken in the protection zone for the Gazella gazellas against poachers.

Hunting and feeding the Gazella gazellas and separating them from nature are completely banned, Akın said, adding that there are hefty fines for those who do.

“Poachers cannot dare approach the protection zone as it is in a military zone. This is an advantage for the population growth of the species,” added Akın.