With the help of funding by WFN, work carried out by 2008 Gold Award winner and 2012 Continuation Funding recipient, Cagan Sekercioglu, and his NGO, KuzeyDoga, led to the Turkish government approving creation of the country’s first wildlife corridor in December 2011. The protected area connects the Sarikamis-Allahuekber National Park in Kars, Northern Turkey, to the extensive forests of the Black Sea and the Caucasus forests on the Turkey-Georgia border. Covering 23,500 hectares and extending for 82 kilometres, the corridor will safeguard habitat for large carnivores, such as brown bears, lynx and wolves, helping to connect isolated populations and reduce human-wildlife conflict. 

A Sarikamis Brown Bear fitted with a Crittercam

Cagan and his team are conducting ongoing research to see how large carnivores are using the landscape in and around the corridor in order to ensure that it’s design provides the maximum benefit to wildlife. Part of this study is the ground-breaking use of “Crittercams” to follow the local bear population – a first in Turkey. Crittercams are collars that enable the team to track the animals’ behaviour  as well as get a “bear’s-eye-view” of how they behave and use the landscape. Amazing footage from Turkey’s first ever crittercam collared bear can be seen in the clip above.

Cagan (centre) with his Mother, Father and a sedated bear fitted with a crittercam