An inventory of medium and large mammal fauna in pine forests of beypazari through camera trapping

Mengüllüoğlu, Deniz
Information about large mammals in Turkey usually does not go further than species lists or annual counts of particular species such as the wild goat. Camera trapping is a very useful technique to overcome this deficiency by gathering information about species presence, numbers, habitat use and behavior. Hence, a one year long camera trap study was conducted to demonstrate the diversity, activity, distribution patterns, habitat preferences and interspecific interactions of medium and large mammals in a 148 km2 large pine woodland near Ankara. Brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), golden jackal (Canis aureus), jungle cat (Felis chaus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Eurasian badger (Meles meles), stone marten (Martes foina), red deer (Cervus elaphus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), brown hare (Lepus europaeus), Caucasian squirrel (Sciurus anomalus) and southern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) were the 13 mammal species captured during the study. Spatial segregation was observed among canid species indicating intraguild competition and competitive exclusion. Prey-predator interactions were documented at both spatial and temporal scales between wolves, deer and wild boars. Red deer showed seasonal and sex differences in activity patterns that appeared to be influenced by wolf predation risk. The presence of two felids unknown to the local people were revealed by camera trapping, showing the utility of this technique for such secretive and rare species. However, the low encounter rates for particular species such as lynx, brown bear and jungle cat indicated the importance of the length of study. Based on various evidence, resident adult population sizes were estimated for wolf (2-5), Eurasian lynx (2-4), brown bear (0-2) and jungle cat (2-3). The study showed that lynx can exist in high densities in a relatively small area when prey species are abundant. This study area hosted a rich mammal fauna in spite of human activities such as livestock grazing, logging and hunting. A relatively intact ecosystem, high altitudinal and habitat diversity, and a positive attitude of local people are believed to be the reasons of this observed high diversity.