Authors: ORTAÇ ÇETİNTAŞ, FERHAT MATUR, MUSTAFA SÖZEN
Abstract: Acomys cilicicus is endemic to Turkey and known from a very restricted area. The exact distribution of the species was not known up to now and the IUCN status of the species was Data Deficient (DD). To determine the exact distribution area of the species, 39 localities within the historical distribution were surveyed by using 3243 Sherman traps between 2013 and 2016. Turkish spiny mouse samples were obtained from 14 of these 39 localities and the current distribution of the species was determined. We found that the Turkish spiny mouse has two isolated populations in the area between Silifke and Erdemli with a total distribution area of about 104.5 km2, extending from sea level up to 510 m a.s.l. Population trend estimates showed a steep decline in the last 20 years from 21.42 to 2.75 as trap night index value. These data, along with the decline in habitat quality and continuing threats to the species, merit an IUCN status of Critically Endangered (CR). The main threats for this species are habitat loss due to urbanization, new motorway construction, stone quarry development, conversion of Mediterranean shrublands into agricultural fields, and afforestation. For conservation purposes, a species protection action plan is necessary immediately.
Keywords: IUCN status, Turkish spiny mouse, habitat changes, threats
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