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1 November 2021 On the Brink of Extinction: Results of a 20-Year Quest for Eiselt's Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis eiselti) in Southeastern Turkey
Dinçer Ayaz, Yusuf Bayrakci, Kerim Çiçek, Flora Ihlow, Cemal Varol Tok, Uwe Fritz
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Abstract

Eiselt's pond turtle (Emys orbicularis eiselti) was described in 1998, based on only 4 museum specimens collected in the 1960s and 1970s. Its distribution range has been massively reduced by large-scale drainage measures and only little suitable habitat remains near the Turkish–Syrian border. During 20-yr-long fieldwork we could locate only 18 individuals of this subspecies. We estimate the number of surviving Eiselt's pond turtles to be less than 100 mature individuals in the wild. The distribution range (area of occupancy) in the Amik Maraş Rift Valley shrank from originally 11,612 km2 to only 206 km2 at present (approx. 2%), qualifying E. o. eiselti as a Critically Endangered taxon. Without immediate conservation measures and the strict protection of the remaining habitat, the subspecies will soon be extinct.

© 2021 Chelonian Research Foundation
Dinçer Ayaz, Yusuf Bayrakci, Kerim Çiçek, Flora Ihlow, Cemal Varol Tok, and Uwe Fritz "On the Brink of Extinction: Results of a 20-Year Quest for Eiselt's Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis eiselti) in Southeastern Turkey," Chelonian Conservation and Biology 20(2), 222-230, (1 November 2021). https://doi.org/10.2744/CCB-1505.1
Received: 22 April 2021; Accepted: 3 June 2021; Published: 1 November 2021
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
Amik Maraş Rift Valley
Asi River
critically endangered
Emydidae
Lake Amik
Orontes River
Reptilia
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