Information for some of the species in danger in Turkey
animal has a different characteristic. One of the cats
attracting human beings' attention for centuries, having silky
white fur, different colors, perfect hunting abilities and
loving to play with water is Van cat.
The fossil of ancestor primitive of modern domestic cats can be
seen about 12 million years ago. It is known that domestication
of cats was made by Egyptians in 3000 B.C. The domesticated cats
were treated as holy creatures and respected as goddess.
Although there are various argument about the place and time of
domestication, the thing that is certainly known is that Asians
took part in domestication. On the other hand some resources
suggest that the cats were semi-domesticated in 1900 B.C.
Cats are carnivorous. When generalized animals are nourished by
proteins. Having sharp senses, eyes seeing well in dark, sharp
paws, sharp teeth, alerted and energetic bodies, walking on
their feet silently make them good hunters. They have sensitive
hairs around eyes and nose which strengthen their hunting
They lose their fur hair in Spring and fall, and they have
facial muscles which change as a reaction to anything happening.
Muscle and skeleton form are controlled in an excellent way and
that is why no matter the position they fall from they always
fall on their feet.
Cerebrum area is wide and indicates the intelligence of them. In
addition, cerebellum is improved, which provides excellence in
Domesticated cats are either treated as holly creatures or are
fed by people at home for hunting harmful animals like mouse,
rat and insects for centuries. However, People have started to
take them as close friends.
In recent years one of the cats attracting people's attention in
Turkey or in the world is Van cat. However, as required care has
not been shown so far, they face loss of the species. The number
of them has been decreasing day by day and the original breeds
have been lost, while they were often seen in the region and
almost each house had one in the past. People of Van call the
cat pişik. Van cats are not only seen as a pet or hunter of rats
and insects but also a friend and member of the family.
It is said that Van cats used to spend summer in mountain and
winter in houses. Today rarely they spend summer in Erek
Mountain and winter in houses.
Van cats are described by the people of region as having long,
white, silky fur, long body, tiger walking, fox like tail.
Different colors of eyes (dischromatopsy), intelligent, agile is
clean, friendly, loves playing and faithful to its owner and
therefore these characteristics make it a rare found cat.
However, since 1950s, the cat has been introduced to the world
by Europeans but this unique cat has not been introduced fully.
One of the characteristics of Van cats is the color of their
eyes. They are classified under three groups according to the
color of their eyes:
a. Both eyes
b. both eyes amber color (yellow and its tones)
c. one eye (dischromatopsy, one eye blue and the other amber).
Blue color of Van cats usually shows blue but amber color shows
many differences in tones. The tones are amber, light amber,
yellow and green almond. Although very rare, sometimes brown
color can be seen. Blue eyed cats are classified as blue eyed
short, velvet furred cats and blue eyed, long silky fur cats.
The color of newly born kittens is grayish. 25 days after birth
the color of eyes starts to change, and after 40 days the color
reaches final color.
There are generally one or two black points between ears of
kittens. Most of the kittens having two black points are single
eyed. And this black point is taken as stamp of single eye cats.
However, the black points are lost after 2 months. And sometimes
they may have black hairs varying between 8 to 30.
It is known that having different color of eyes which human
beings, dogs and doves face, is genetic defect syndrome.
Body weight of female Van cats is 2900 grams while males weigh
Van cats have mating period in February-March-June. This period
lasts for up to 10 days. In case of pregnancy during this period,
no other mating period is seen in the same year. Pregnancy
period is 62 days. The belly starts to swallow from the first
month and the cat never lets any one touch her belly. Van cats
like other cats prefer to give birth in the locations far away
from vision, and for this reason they start to look for isolated
and dark location from the first month of the pregnancy.
Immediately after birth, placenta of the kittens are cut by the
mother. Mother cat suckles its kittens for 50-60 days. However,
this period can be more or less.
Van cats give birth to four kittens at one birth. The eyes of
kittens are open on the 10th day. Mother licks its kittens in
order to clean them and starts suckling immediately after birth.
If mother deems that the location is not safe, it finds a safe
place and carries the kittens there. Mother hardly leaves its
kittens alone and only leaves them to meet its needs.
The kittens still with close eyes reacts to smells other than
their mother and try to protect themselves.
The movement of the kittens at the beginning is like walking and
Kitten brothers/sisters usually fight for milk. They usually
play with each other. Playing game is an essential factor for
development. The game is under control of the mother and the
mother teaches its kittens how to survive. If the kitten is
alone, it wants to play with its mother and if mother is not
there even it can play with other animals around.
The cats have a strong control over the areas they are settled
in. They do not want other cats to come to their living areas.
When their living places or houses are changed, they try to
return to former place if they do not like the new one. Van cats
get used to their new living places in 20 to 30 days. During
this period they examine the surrounding and are not interested
in their owners.
The cats have more cleaning sense than other animals. They are
considerably curious about cleanliness of themselves and their
living surrounding. After toilet, they have instinct to burying
the dirt. They clean their mouths and faces with help of their
paws after eating and toilet.
The hunting characteristic of Van cats is superior. They hunt
rats, mice, bird, flies and insects indoor and outdoor, and eat
them. They never attack to poultry animals living with them in
the house or out of the house.
Van cats love living with human beings in family environment. If
they do not have relation with human beings or have a little
relationship they start to become wild.
Van Cats are very affectionate, giving head butts and love bites.
Especially during pregnancy they are in need of love. They are
very close to their owners and love them. When they see
strangers they react and escape. They jump on the lap of the
ones loving them. They are jealous of their owners showing
affection to other cats and small kids.
Although there is a belief that Van Cats suffer from deafness
problem, only 2-3% of odd eyed (dischromatopsy) and blue eyed
cats suffer from this problem.
Van Cats love to swim and play with water, and with this feature
it is the only cat species.
Van cats checks the meal if it is warm with their front paws and
if the meal is warm enough they eat. It is also observed that
Van Cats eat melon, watermelon and some fruit.
Although the fur is quite thick, they are affected by the cold.
They produce some voices in order to communicate with each other
and with human beings. The voices indicate their emotions. Their
meowing has some varieties. Some indicates communication with
human beings some indicates communication with their kittens or
for their sexual activities. The sounds generated according to
their needs have different intensity and frequency. Van Cats
meow loudly when they see their owners in the morning in order
to show their happiness. When they are hungry they go to the
kitchen door and meows to indicate that they are hungry.
When the food is given, they show their grates by means of
touching their owner. When they need toilet they go to the door
and meow in order to ask their owners to open the door. It is
also observed that if the door needs to be opened, they jump to
the handle and open it.
The studies indicated that Van Cats respond to training very
well. They understand what have been taught very quickly. They
immediately learn the place where soil is put for their toilet
needs, and never try other places for toilet needs.
Kittens are able to learn their names when they are 2-3 months.
However, it is thought that this learning is understanding the
tone of the sound they are used to rather than learning the
It is necessary to take any actions required for preservation of
lovely, friendly, intelligent, faithful, beautiful and
attractive Van Cats and decrease of them.
Turkish Ministry of Culture
rooster crows at its own place
But Denizli Rooster crows every where.
"Thanks God, I
have everything here. Only one thing is missing in my life here:
Cock crowing..." said A rich businessman living in New York. The
rooster he was talking about was Denizli rooster. While he was
expressing his missing of the Rooster, he was also expressing a
reality of the modern world.
"I was born at dawn time in Denizli while roosters were crowing....
Then I used to wake up with the same sound for many years... I
was getting out of my bed with the sound of my rooster every
morning at a regular time like a clock set at e time. Let me
tell you something now..... I have not heard any rooster crowing
here for 21 years...The thing that modern city life has taken
out off me is rooster crowing sound which is sweeter than gold
sound... Contemporary city life, at the very beginning, stops
the sound of rooster..."
"Denizli Rooster", the symbol of Denizli is a domestic species
which is well known in even the farthest regions to our city
with its colour and body building, harmonious long and beautiful
crowing. According to some rumours, Berat roosters having long
crowing were brought to Istanbul during Ottoman Empire from
Albania and then brought to Denizli and crossbred with domestic
chicken of Denizli and thus Denizli Rooster species was
originated but it is not true. Because there are no similarities
between two species when compared in terms of colour and body
structure. Denizli rooster was originated automatically upon
great care shown by the people living in Denizli to long crowing
rooster for centuries.
The colour of Denizli rooster's eyes is black and blackened with
kohl. Its legs are dark grey or purple, its comb is in big axe
comb, and atrium is red or white spots on red background,
general colour is black and dirty white together. Sometimes wing
features have brown colours. Red roosters have black-white
mixture. Their alive weight is about 3-3.5 kg. They are divided
into 3 groups according to their colours, body building and
combp types. According to their colours they are classified into
6 groups as: DEMİRKIR, PAMUKKIR, KINALI, AL, SİYAH and KÜRKLÜ.
According to their body buildin they are divided into 3 types,
namely : YÜKSEK BOYUN, SÜLÜN and KÜPELİ. According to their
combs, they are divided into 2 types: GENİŞ İBİK and DAR İBİK.
The sound of Denizli roosters are classified according to the
tone and clearness. According to sound tones they are divided
into 3 groups: İNCE, DAVUDİ, KALIN SES. Davudi(bass) voice is
between high pitched and deep voice and is the only sound close
to deep voice. According to clearness, they are divided into
four groups namely sad voice, shrill voice, wavy voice(funny
Crowing of Denizli roosters is performed upon use of all
abilities. Crowing is divided into four groups depending on body
position during crowing, which are LION CROWING, WOLF CROWING,
HERO CROWING, PUS CROWING.
A good Denizli Rooster must have: alive apearance; long and
strong legs and neck; wide and deep chest; sharp and sloped
toward head tail. The same features are true for the chicken.
The crowing period of Denizli Roosters in the first year must be
20 to 25 seconds.
Denizli roosters being grown up by Denizli species production
unit formed under body of Directorate of Province Agricultural
Affairs are maintened generally in 100 flock. Breeding roosters
are selected and the rest are sold according to the demands made
from various parts of the country from March, April, and sales
of chicks are made in March, April, may, June.
Turkish Ministry of Culture
Butterflies of Cappadocia
Small oases of
green vegetation scattered along the otherwise inhospitable
valleys provide sustenance not only for human beings but for a
wide diversity of wildlife, including birds, insects and
reptiles. In the first warm days of April butterflies and moths
of a myriad colours and designs emerge from their chrysalises.
One of Europes foremost areas in this respect, Cappadocia is
home to over two or three times the number of moths. What makes
Cappadocia of particular interest to naturalists is the fact
that species native to Europe, North Africa and the Near East
are found together here.
attract Papilio Machaon, with its blue and red spots on white
ground and wings tapering into long tails. The Balkan species
Allancastria Cerisyi is also to be seen here, as is the rare
Parnassius Apollon, which flutters on the high forested slopes
of Mount Erciyes. The lovely Issoria Hathonla, with is metallic
silvery spots on the underside of its wings, appears in late
spring and can be seen throughout the summer. A visitor to
flower gardens in summer and autumn is the large Argynnis Paphia,
while in in the summer the dry hills are home to Chazara Briseis,
patterned in grey and yellow on black. One of the species unique
to Turkey is Agrodiaetus Iphigenia Nonacriensis, distinguished
by its incandescent turquoise wings. Most famous of the species
native to the Cappadocian region and not found else where is
Zygaena Kapadokia, a tiny but beautiful butterfly moth which
lives in grassland.
are generally short lived, but there are exceptions among
migrating species which leave North Africa in early spring and
fly thousands of kilometres northwards. The most common of these
is Cynthia Cardui, which is seen throughout Europe as far as
Scandinavia. The first swarms of migrating butterflies arrive in
April, and remain until October, laying eggs twice during the
summer on thistles and nettles. So when you are in Cappadocia
take time out from the frescos and rock hewn churches to watch
for the butterflies, which add another dimension of interest and
colour to this unique region.
Written by Turgay Tuna
The Kangal Dog
is found in the high rolling plains country of central Turkey.
The approximate geographic center of the region is Sivas City.
The Kangal Dog has historically been associated with the town of
Kangala district town within Sivas Province. While much of the
landscape is rolling plains, the region is cut by the Kulmaç
Mountains and the Tecer Mountains running approximately NE/SW.
The Uzun Yayla southwest of Kangal is a major Kangal Dog and
sheep producing area. The Kızılırmak River runs through the
province. A karst topography dominates the northern part of the
Although Sivas Province is the center of Kangal Dog breeding,
good examples of the breed can also be found in parts of the
neighboring provinces of Kayseri, Yozgat, Tokat, Erzincan, and
Malatya, where they border on Sivas Province. The precise
regional boundaries for the Kangal Dog cannot be defined, but
the demarcation between true Kangal Dogs and other dogs is
Kangal. A name well known to the people of Turkey! Its very name
evokes the romance and legendary aura of this land so steeped in
history. This ancient breed springs forth like a lion from its
epicenter - the Kangal District - a region in east central
Turkey located in what is known as the Anti-Taurus. While Turkey
has more than one indigenous dog breed, the Kangal is the most
famous of them all. This breed's status is manifested by its
portrait on a national Turkish postage stamp. If any dog breed
can be characterized as the national dog of Turkey, that breed
is the Kangal Dog.
minimum of 30 inches (dogs) at the withers and weighing an
average 120 pounds, the Kangal Dog is a strongly-built,
magnificent dog distinguished by its black face and ears. The
short, soft body coat ranges from light dun to steel grey in
color and is usually accented with a white chest blaze and white
stockings on the feet and legs. Turkish shepherds frequently
crop the ears close to the skull, thereby enhancing its leonine
appearance. When equipped with the traditional spiked, iron
collar around its neck, the Kangal Dog, in its native land,
projects an intimidating and powerful image.
The correct, traditional name for the breed in Turkey is Kangal
Köpegi or Sivas Kangal Köpegi. (The Turkish word köpek means "dog"
in English. When used with an adjective in the Turkish language,
the word "köpek" takes the form köpeği.) Thus, the direct
translation is Kangal Dog or Sivas Kangal Dog. No other name is
acceptable to the Turks, nor to its original sponsor in Europe
and the United States - The Kangal Dog Club of America, Inc., a
non-profit corporation founded to preserve the breed, protect
its name, and maintain the Turkish-American standard for the
To understand the Kangal Dog, one needs to understand the
context-historical, cultural, and physical-in which it is found.
Our objective is to provide all the information needed to
understand and appreciate this magnificent breed.
If any dog breed can be characterized as the "national dog" of
Turkey, the Kangal Dog is that dog. Simply stated, the Kangal
Dog is a cultural and historic icon of the Turkish people.
The image of the Kangal Dog in Turkey is very positive. This
image connotes power, strength, and generates a great sense of
pride. There is a feeling of awe for the great Kangals of
From old hand
writing documents, it has been determined that Thermit Ibis
birds used to live in Europe since 1504. This bird, which was
living in Central Europe near the Alps, was first defined by C.
Gessner as Corvus Sylvaticus in 1555 in Historia Animalium and
some information was given about the birds' life style. Later,
it was determined that those birds, which disappeared in Europe,
emigrated to Middle East countries and Africa and they still
live in these countries.
Thermit Ibis that come to Birecik in the middle of February
settle down at rocks in the middle of March. After their
procreation, they grow up their youngs and in the middle of July
they leave Birecik with their youngs. The reason for these birds
to come to Birecik for procreation is thought to be that the
calcite mineral in those rocks increased the procreation energy
of birds. Thermit Ibis birds are single mate and every year they
build their nest and lash out with the same couple. Mature birds
are the ones that show their energy to build up a nest. It is
necessary to be 5 years old, to become a mature bird. Their
average life period is 25-30 years.
beginning of 1950, the number of Thermit Ibis was more than
1000, there had been a specific decrease in the number of birds
since 1954. Destruction of natural feeding environment of these
birds with overuse of agricultural insecticide chemicals,
hunting of these birds by the hunters in their long immigration
period and cold weather conditions are the main reasons for the
decrease of Thermit Ibis birds. Thermit Ibis birds follow the
Lebanon - Israel way and the River Nil or Red Sea coast and can
not be observed at those places.
In order to prevent the decrease in number and disappearing of
the generation, Thermit Ibis Procreation Station was established
in Birecik by the Generate Directorate of Forestry of the
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affairs in 1972. In
this station, first of all two mature and nine young Thermit
Ibis birds were captured by net and put into a cage, and then
production started in 1977. The birds under protection are fed
with meat without fat, planed carrot, boiled egg and mixture of
In February 1996, 52 Hermit Ibis birds set free from procreation
station to reproduction in nature. After the reproduction season,
the total number reached to 75 with 23 young birds. 4 of them
are given to Istanbul Bayramoğlu Zoo, 5 of them are given to
Atatürk Orman Çiftliği, 13 of them immigrated and 45 of them are
still living in procreation station.
Birecik people consider Thermit Ibis birds which they regionally
call Keçelaynak holy. Arrival of Hermit Ibis birds to Birecik in
the middle of February is interpreted by Birecik people as a
sign of spring. In recent years, "Hermit Ibis Festival" is being
organized in Birecik for these birds.
Turkish Ministry of Culture