Of the 13 viper species seen in Turkey, 3 are endemic, and 6 are among the endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Pedram Türkoğlu, who has been working on these species, said, “Habitat loss, illegal collection, intentional or accidental killing have been identified as the main threats to vipers. Protected areas should be created in regions with high viper density in order to protect their generations.”
Science writer and medical doctor Pedram Türkoğlu compiled the endangered viper species in Turkey. Türkoğlu stated that out of a total of 56 snake species in Turkey, 13 of them are vipers and 1 of them are cobras.
In some, there is disagreement on the type/subtype due to lack of data. Therefore, these numbers may vary from source to source. But there is a certain truth; “Although some vipers are not endangered at the ‘species level’, their populations living in our country are in danger,” he said.
6 SPECIES, 3 ENDEMIC, ARE IN DANGER
Noting that there are 6 endangered viper species on the IUCN list in Turkey, Türkoğlu said, “The endangered species are Wagner viper, Anatolian viper, Darevski viper, Caucasian viper, white-banded mountain viper and meadow viper. These are Anatolian viper, white-banded mountain viper and meadow viper. “The viper is endemic. They live only in Turkey, in these lands. The non-endemic ones also live in a very limited geography,” he said.
‘IT IS POSSIBLE TO ENCOUNTER AT LEAST 1 SPECIES IN EVERY REGION’
The late Prof., who has made very important studies in the field of herpetology (reptile and amphibian science) in Turkey. Dr. Türkoğlu, who used photographs of Mehmet Anıl Oğuz, Abdurrahman Sefalı and Naşit İğci, as well as Bayram Göçmen, in his compilation of endangered species, explained that vipers can be seen in every region of Turkey.
Türkoğlu said, “It is possible to encounter at least one viper species in almost every region of Turkey, mainly the striped viper in the Aegean and Mediterranean, and the main viper in the Southeast. However, vipers are not easily encountered in nature. Most of them are nocturnal (nocturnal). “If they don’t sunbathe during the day, they spend it hiding under rocks or logs,” he said.
WRONG PREJUDICE AGAINST SNAKES
Pointing out that there is a great prejudice and misunderstanding against snakes among the public, Türkoğlu said, “Loss of habitat, illegal collection, intentional or accidental killings have been identified as the main threats to vipers.
In order to protect their descendants, first of all, protected areas should be created in regions with high viper density. Illegal collection should be prevented and controls should be increased. One of the most important is to raise awareness among the local population to reduce viper deaths, whether intentionally or accidentally. “People are not among the vipers’ prey,” he said.
‘SERPES ARE ALSO PART OF THE ECOSYSTEM’
Emphasizing that snakes are a critical link in the food chain, Türkoğlu made the following call:
“If the snake population, including vipers, decreases, it means that the population of rodents that are their prey will increase. This means an increased risk of infection effects such as hantavirus and undesirable consequences on crops and fields. Above all, they are a part of the ecosystem like other animals.
They have as much right to life on this planet as we do. In fact, it is stated in current studies that there are social relations among snakes. We have a long way to go in this regard. I believe that we will take important steps with the power of media and social media.”