Nature & Wildlife
Trace the wildlife!
Mesopotamia is an ideal point of interest not only for lovers of culture, history and gastronomy but also for many nature tourist including bird and butterfly observers.
Mesopotamia is the only region having semi-desert climate and plant cover not only in Turkey but also in the world. Therefore, diversity of birds and plants in Mesopotamia is entirely different from the rest of Europe and Turkey. It is one of the richest regions of the world in terms of steppe species.
It is obvious that the most valuable wild animal living in the region is Hermit ibis which only 150 of them are available worldwide. Hermit ibises that live in Ethiopia during winters and in Birecik during summers, faced with the problem of extinction due to the pesticide that have widely been used in the region in 1950s. Their number which was 11 at one time, today reached 150 thanks to the protection activities.
Euphrates River vivifying Mesopotamia that is the cradle of civilization, constitutes living spaces for birds as well. Karkamış passing through the areas where Syrian territories comprising Tigris River, is one of the biggest production colonies of pygmy cormorant, and in which approximately 20,000 aquatic birds can be observed. Mezra Region that is located in the south of Birecik, Birecik itself, Birecik Dam Lake and nearby, Halfeti moorlands, are the places where you can see the birds easily that are very difficult to see in anywhere in Turkey and Europe. Pied kingfisher, pallid scops owl, see-see partridge, bonelli's eagle, blue-cheeked bee-eater, great bustard, cream-coloured courser, sociable lapwing, Iraq Babbler are some of the birds.
Throughout the Euphrates, it is also possible to see Euphrates softshell turtle (Rafetus euphraticus) that only dwells in Mesopotamia region in the world. This turtle reproduces in Atatürk Dam Lake that is close to Bozova district of Şanlıurfa. Furthermore, the Tigris Turtle can also be seen along the River.
Ceylanpınar and Akçakale plains are other rich regions in terms of birds. In these steppes, it is possible to see great bustards and sociable lapwings that can be seen very rarely during spring and fall which are migration periods. Another bird that is popular but seen scarce in other places, is black francolin.
If you're lucky, you can see wild gazelles running on the steppes. The gazelle hatchery farm is the place inside Ceylanpınar TİGEM (General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises) where you can see wild gazelles.
Tigris Valley starting from Diyarbakır Hevsel Gardens, hosts various kinds of mammals and bird species until their departure from our country. Hevsel Gardens in Diyarbakır and Devegeçidi Dam Lage are important bird observation centres especially during migration period. It is possible to see almost 190 bird species during migration periods in Hevsel Gardens and alongside Tigris River.
Several predatory bird species such as griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, bonelli's eagle and lesser kestrel, which are under the threat of extinction also live in the rocks on steep slopes of Tigris River and nearby. Bismil Plain and nearby Cizre are also the points where you can find large sociable lapwing that is a scarcely found bird type.
Tigris Valley and nearby, is the living area of leopard that is thought to become extinct. The leopard that was shot in Çınar district of Diyarbakır province on November 2013, is the only single case in which the leopard emerged 39 years later in Turkey. It is possible to see and take the photo the animals such as striped hyena, Indian crested porcupine, desert monitor, gazelle, wildcat, lynx.
Karacadağ, which changed the history of civilization, where Einkorn wheat is cultivated that is the wild ancestor of wheat, and which led to the beginning agricultural revolution almost 12,000 years ago, is the place that each nature tourist should visit. Karacadağ is also known to be one of the rare places in Turkey where spectacled warblers reproduce.
Set your course towards Mesopotamia for an unforgettable holiday in between the nature and wild life.