Turkey’s endangered reptiles will be tracked by satellite

A new project from the Ministry of the Environment and Town Planning aims to monitor the country’s reptile species that are in danger of extinction. The reptiles, ranging from chameleons, turtles, lizards and the Caucasian viper endemic to Turkey, will be followed by microchips planted in / on them. Some 500 reptiles have been selected for the project, which will allow satellite tracking of species living in preserved areas in the provinces of Antalya, Muğla and Trabzon.

The authorities aim to collect data on the population density of reptiles, changes in their population, habitats and the potential impact of climate change on the species. Monitoring will also help create wildlife corridors for reptiles.

The districts of Belek and Kaş in Antalya, Fethiye in Muğla, Göcek, Köyceğiz, Dalyan and Çaykara district in Trabzon will host the project, which will be supervised by scientists. It will also be the most comprehensive study of endemic reptiles in Turkey.

Scientists will use telemetry technology to track reptiles, which will be equipped with microchips in the early hours of the morning when their body temperature is lower. The majority of reptile species are very sensitive to temperature changes, which climate change has accelerated. They depend on stable environmental temperatures to maintain critical physiological processes. Some are already feeling the impact of climate change, such as the Anatolian meadow viper.

They seek to improve the living conditions of reptiles by observing the risks their habitat faces. The two-year project will also serve as a reptile census.

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