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Turkey uses animal camera traps to identify illegal hunters

Ibex with Big Horns [Eric Kilby/Flickr]
Ibex with Big Horns [Eric Kilby/Flickr]

Camera traps used to monitor wildlife in Turkey are also being used to capture illegal poachers, according to a report yesterday by Daily Sabah.

The General Directorate of Nature Protection and National Parks (DKMP), which coordinates the camera trap installation, currently operates 3,150 camera traps across the country. Primarily used for research, the camera traps allow minimal level of human intervention while enabling better observation of wildlife behaviour. They also provide valuable data for researchers, especially for creating wildlife censuses, in remote, inaccessible areas where fieldwork is difficult, the report said.

However, illegal hunting is prevalent in the country despite being subject to fines. Last year, some 8,200 people were fined a total of about $2.6 million with 140 people accused of being involved in illegal hunting, all identified through the camera traps.

The Turkish government occasionally sells licenses to hunt specific animals on the basis that hunting helps cull overpopulated species and preserves wildlife sustainability. Activists disagree and believe that hunting is detrimental to wildlife preservation. The bezoar ibex and the Anatolian wild boar are two of the main species sought out by trophy hunters. The wild boars in Turkey are significantly larger than those in Europe while the indigenous ibex species possess the longest horns in relation to body weight.

In March the DKMP announced increased fines for the illegal hunting of animals for the 2021-2022 hunting season. According to the notice, the highest fine will be TL 267,000 ($31,210) for hunting a mountain sheep, while the lowest fine will be $549 for killing a stork or a swan.

READ: Turkey beach welcomes endangered sea turtles

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