Open main menu

Anatolian leopard

The Anatolian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana) is an endangered leopard subspecies, which lives in southwest Asia. Also called the Persian leopard or Asia Minor leopard, it was proposed in the 19th century as a distinct leopard subspecies native to southwestern Turkey.[1] In this part of Turkey, the leopard population is considered locally extinct since the mid-1970s.[2][3]

Anatolian leopard
Caucasus Leopard in Georgian National Museum 04.JPG
At the Georgian National Museum
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae
Genus: Panthera
P. p. tulliana
Trinomial name
Panthera pardus tulliana
(Valenciennes, 1856)

In southeastern Turkey, it was sighted in Bitlis Province in 2008.[4] The first camera trap photograph of a leopard in Turkey was obtained in September 2013 in Trabzon Province in the country's eastern part.[5] In November 2013, a leopard was killed in the Çınar district of Diyarbakır Province.[6] This specimen was considered the westernmost observation of the subspecies.[7]


Felis tulliana was the scientific name used by Achille Valenciennes in 1856 who described a leopard from the area of Smyrna in western Turkey.[1] In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Anatolian leopard was considered a distinct leopard subspecies occurring only in western Turkey.[2] In 2017, P. p. ciscaucasia was subsumed to P. p. tulliana.[8]


In 1856, the Anatolian leopard was described as having a grayish, slightly reddish fur with large rosettes on the flanks and back, smaller ones on the shoulder and upper legs, and spots on the head and neck. It is similar in size to the African leopard.[1]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Aegean Region in Turkey marked in red

The Anatolian leopard was thought to have ranged in the Aegean and western parts of Turkey. It was not recorded in the Black Sea region.[9] Stone traps for leopards and Caspian tigers dating to the Roman Empire still exist in the Taurus Mountains.[10]

Since surveys were not carried out in western Turkey until the mid-1980s, biologists doubted whether leopards still survived in this part of Anatolia. Sighting reports from the environs of Alanya in the south of the Lycian peninsula suggested that a scattered population existed between Finike, Antalya and Alanya in the early 1990s. Fresh faecal pellets found in Termessos National Park in 1992 were attributed to an Anatolian leopard.[11] A decade later, no signs of the presence of leopards were detected in Termessos National Park. Interviews conducted with local people and national park personnel did not corroborate the presence of leopards in this area.[12]

During surveys carried out between 1993 and 2002, zoologists found evidence of leopards in the upper forest and alpine zones of the Pontic Mountains in northern Anatolia. In this area, possible prey species include wild ungulates such as deer, chamois, wild goat, wild boar but also European hare and Caucasian grouse.[13] It is unknown whether a significant number of leopards still exist 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.[14]

In eastern Turkey, the range of the Anatolian leopard converges with the range of the Persian leopard.[2] A male leopard camera trapped in the Georgian Vashlovani National Park in 2003 was considered a Caucasian leopard.[15]

Leopards recorded in Galilee, Golan Heights and in the Judaean Desert are considered Arabian leopards.[16] The last leopard in Syria is reputed to have been killed in 1963 in the Alauwit Mountains.[17]

Sightings and encountersEdit

In 1974 a leopard was killed in Bağözü village near Beypazarı following an attack on a woman. For three decades, this encounter was considered to have been the last confirmed sighting of an Anatolian leopard.[13][14]

In 2010, a leopard was killed and skinned in the Siirt Province.[6] In September 2013, an animal captured by camera traps in the Trabzon Province in Turkey's northern region was identified as a leopard by biologists from the Karadeniz Technical University who asserted to have obtained several photos of leopards in the surveyed area.[5]

On 3 November 2013, a leopard was killed after it attacked a shepherd in Diyarbakır Province in the country's southern region.[6][18][19]

In 2019, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Nature Protection initiated a survey to document wildlife in the country by using camera traps and quadcopters.[20]

The Kaplani of Samos Island in GreeceEdit

The Natural History Museum of the Aegean on Samos Island exhibits a stuffed leopard that was allegedly killed on the island in 1862 (after another one appeared in 1836).[21] It carries a label with the name Kaplani, Greek: Καπλάνι, indicating it is a leopard. Its size, shape and coat colour is rather unnatural for a leopard, but may have been altered in the process of preparing the skin. It is possible that an Anatolian leopard reached the island by swimming across a channel from the Turkish coast, which is about 1.7 km (1.1 mi) farther east.[22]

The story of the leopard and the exhibit inspired Greek author Alki Zei to write a novel for children in Greek: Το καπλάνι της βιτρίνας, translated as Wildcat under Glass.[23][24]

The leopard 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.[citation needed] The Gliarmis brothers were offered money by the leaders of the island for their action.[21]

In cultureEdit

Anatolian leopard is the title of a fictional film directed by Emre Kayis.[25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Valenciennes, A. (1856). "Sur une nouvelles espèce de Panthère tué par M. Tchihatcheff à Ninfi, village situé à huit lieues est de Smyrne". Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences. 42: 1035–1039.
  2. ^ a b c Khorozyan, I. G.; Gennady, F.; Baryshnikov, G. F.; Abramov, A. V. (2006). "Taxonomic status of the leopard, Panthera pardus (Carnivora, Felidae) in the Caucasus and adjacent areas" (PDF). Russian Journal of Theriology. 5 (1): 41–52. doi:10.15298/rusjtheriol.05.1.06.
  3. ^ Stein, A. B.; Athreya, V.; Gerngross, P.; Balme, G.; Henschel, P.; Karanth, U.; Miquelle, D.; Rostro, S.; Kamler, J. F. & Laguardia, A. (2016). "Panthera pardus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: 15954/102421779. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T15954A50659089.en.
  4. ^ Toyran, K. (2018). "Noteworthy record of Panthera pardus in Turkey (Carnivora: Felidae)" (PDF). Fresenius Environmental Bulletin. 27 (11): 7348–7353.
  5. ^ a b World Bulletin (2013). "Panthera pardus" spotted in Turkey. World Bulletin, 11 September 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Hürriyet Daily News (2013). Shepherd kills first Anatolian leopard sighted in Turkey for years Hürriyet Daily News, 3 November 2013.
  7. ^ Breitenmoser, U. (2013). "The Persian leopard at risk". Cat News (59): Editorial.
  8. ^ Kitchener, A. C., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Eizirik, E., Gentry, A., Werdelin, L., Wilting A., Yamaguchi, N., Abramov, A. V., Christiansen, P., Driscoll, C., Duckworth, J. W., Johnson, W., Luo, S.-J., Meijaard, E., O’Donoghue, P., Sanderson, J., Seymour, K., Bruford, M., Groves, C., Hoffmann, M., Nowell, K., Timmons, Z. & Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News. Special Issue 11: 73–75.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ Can, O. E. (2004). Status, conservation and management of large carnivores in Turkey. Strasbourg: Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. Standing Committee, 24th meeting, 29 November-3 December 2004.
  10. ^ Sekercioglu, C.; Anderson, S.; Akcay, E.; Bilgin, R.; Can, O.; Semiz, G. (December 2011). "Turkey's Globally Important Biodiversity In Crisis" (PDF). Biological Conservation. 144 (12): 2752–2769. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.06.025. Retrieved 3 October 2013.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Ullrich, B., Riffel, M. (1993). "New evidence for the occurrence of the Anatolian Leopard, Panthera pardus tulliana (Valenciennes, 1856), in Western Turkey". Zoology in the Middle East. 8 (1): 5–14. doi:10.1080/09397140.1993.10637631.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Giannatos, G., Albayrak, T., Erdogan, A. (2006). "Status of the Caracal in Protected Areas in Southwestern Turkey". Cat News. 45: 23–24.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ a b Baskaya, S., Bilgili, E. (2004). "Does the leopard Panthera pardus still exist in the Eastern Karadeniz Mountains of Turkey ?". Oryx. 38 (2): 228–232. doi:10.1017/S0030605304000407.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  14. ^ a b Ertüzün, M. (2006). The last Anatolian Panther.
  15. ^ Antelava, N. (2004). "Lone leopard spotted in Georgia". BBC News, 25 May 2004.
  16. ^ 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. doi:10.1017/S0030605306000846.
  17. ^ 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. ZooKeys 31. pp. 229–252. doi:10.3897/zookeys.31.170.
  18. ^ HDN (2013). "Anatolian Leopard Sighted in Turkey for First Time in Years After Being Killed by Shepherd". Archived from the original on 2013-11-11.
  19. ^ HDN (2013). "Mystery Anatolian Leopard Seen, Shot Before: Forensics". Archived from the original on 2013-11-11.
  20. ^ "Wildlife monitored with drones, camera traps 24/7". DailySabah. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  21. ^ a b Κρητικίδης, Ε. Ι. (1869). Τοπογραφία Αρχαία και Σημερινή της Σάμου.
  22. ^ Masseti, M. (2010). Homeless mammals from the Ionian and Aegean islands. Bonn zoological Bulletin 57 (2): 367–373.
  23. ^ Zei, A. (1963). Το Καπλ́ανι τ́ης βιτρ́ινας μυθιστ́ορημα. Κ́ερδος, Athīna.
  24. ^ Zei, A. (1968). Wildcat under Glass. First edition. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York.
  25. ^ Grater2018-07-27T08:08:00+01:00, Tom. "Sam Spiegel International Film Lab 2018 backs 'Anatolian Leopard', fetes Dieter Kosslick". Screen. Retrieved 2019-11-05.

External linksEdit