The country is filled with fauna similar to that of the Balkans; bears, lynxes, wild boar, deer, chamois, otters, foxes, camels, buffaloes and a handful of increasingly rare leopards. You will more likely come across horses, goats and sheep watched by a very powerful shepherd dog, the kangal. This breed is strictly controlled and its exportation licenced. This is equally the case with the famous Van cat, a cat with white fur and heterochromic eyes (one green and the other blue). Different species of snakes, lizards and salamanders also thrive here.
The birdlife is of an astounding diversity, with a multitude of raptors, including the majestic eagles and vultures. Migratory species fly over Anatolia twice a year: cranes, storks, countless raptors (black kite, vultures, hawks and eagles). The south-east of Anatolia (Birecik, Sanli Urfa) is the only region in the world where you will find the last few ibises (Kelaynak) thriving in the vestiges of Ancient Egypt.
Some species of the marine fauna, such as the Mediterranean seal and the Caretta turtle, have sought refuge in the crystalline waters of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. Surrounded by four seas (the Black, Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas), Turkey is home to an impressive plethora of fish. Several species of bream, sea wolf (lüfer), red mullet, and other Mediterranean species thrive in its waters, in addition to the hamsi (a type of anchovy) found in the Black Sea, which is one of the most prized dishes of the Turkish people. Large scale sea and freshwater fish breeding businesses produce bass, breams and trout.
The Eurasian Lynx is the biggest of the lynxes and native to European and Siberian forests, where it prays on other animals© Martin Siepmann/ age fotostock
Also known as the Maral, or Noble Deer, this deer is found in areas between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea© Martin Siepmann/ age fotostock
The red fox is the largest of the true foxes© Martin Siepmann/ age fotostock
Turkey has a population of about 7000 wolves, and this number is steadily declining. It received the status of a game species in 2003.© Martin Siepmann/ age fotostock
The most widely spread otter species, the Eurasian or European Otter feeds on fish, insects and small mammals© Martin Siepmann/ age fotostock