Striped hyena in Eastern Turkey
The Arab word for striped hyenas, dhubba, is alluded in a valley in Palestine known as Shaqq-ud-Diba (meaning "cleft of the hyenas") and Wadi-Abu-Diba (meaning "valley of the hyenas") and the species has an important place in middle-eastern cultural history, where it is still found today. However the species is widely persecuted, and the situation is critical in Turkey; the last remaining individuals of this species are found in the far east of the country. There are no comprehensive population monitoring studies.
Our partner in this project is İsmet Ceyhun Yıldırım, a forest biologist and engineer, based in Sütçü İmam University, Kahramanmaraş, Turkey.
In 2009 we were awarded an inaugural grant from the Mohamed bin Zayed foundation in Abu Dhabi to conduct an assessment of the utility of FIT for monitoring this endangered species, and are currently trying to acquire footprints from captive animals for the extraction of the FIT algorithm for this species.
We have found many footprints in and around caves inhabited by this shy creature, and set up infra-red and incandescent light camera-traps with prepared sand areas baited with fishmongers waste. We hope to have images of animals to match tracks in the coming months. Meantime we have interviewed local trackers and approached local schools to establish an educational programme to raise awarenesss of the plight of this species.