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ŠUMARSKI LIST 7-8/2022 str. 71     <-- 71 -->        PDF

Maximum Entropy Niche-Based Predicting of Potential Habitat for the Anatolian Leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana Valenciennes, 1856) in Turkey
Prediktivno modeliranje distibucije potencijalnog staništa za anatolskog leoparda (Panthera pardus tulliana Valenciennes, 1856) u Turskoj korištenjem modela maksimalne entropije
Alptug˘ Sar
The Anatolian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana Valenciennes, 1856) is the largest surviving cat species in Turkey. Despite the adversity they face, leopards still exist in Turkey. In this study, using the maximum entropy model (MaxEnt), potentially suitable habitats for the Anatolian leopard in Turkey was surveyed. When evaluating leopard habitat preference, the fact that the species can easily adapt to its habitat and live anywhere with sufficient vegetation and sufficient prey animals was taken into account; only data on climate which affects the geographic distribution patterns and population structures of flora and fauna were examined before. When the climatic variables affecting leopard’ distribution were examined, the following had the highest values: isothermally, seasonal temperature, average temperature of the coldest season, minimum temperature of the coldest month, and annual precipitation. Except for the Central Anatolia Region and coastal areas, almost every region in Türkiye contains habitats suitable for the leopard. There are scarce data on leopards’ populations and habitats in Türkiye. Therefore, even though ecological niche modelling (ENM) may generate important results when determining potentially suitable habitats, it is clear that this model cannot yield accurate results without considering the areas that the species is known to inhabit but in which no studies were previously conducted. The results that were obtained in the present study can also provide background information related to the long-term conservation of this species.
Key words: Bioclimatic data, Conservation, Habitat suitability, Leopard, MaxEnt, Türkiye
The leopard is a predator with one of the widest ranges of food sources in the world, and it can adapt to various climatic zones and ecological environments as long the quantity and quality of prey are high enough (Edgaonkar and Chellam 2002; Bailey 2005; Sarı et al. 2020). Leopards live in a wide variety of habitats, from semi-desert areas to evergreen forests, and have been found from sea level to top of mountains even near major metropolitan areas (Bothma and le Riche 1989). The number of subspecies of leopard living in the world is stated as eight in total in the