Turkey’s cats … laws to protect them from extinction

“Cat Villa” at Yüzünğül University of Turkey (Ozkan Bilgin / Anatolia)

The Turkish government has commissioned important research centers and universities to preserve rare breeds of cats of the “Fan” and “Angora” breeds, which saved them from extinction, and put them back on the breeding ground.

Any visitor to Turkey quickly notices the great degree of familiarity and the instinctive safety relationship between pets and humans, as it is rare for a bird to fly or a cat to escape when a person approaches them. Some time ago, Parliament ratified the Animal Protection Act, which removed it as a commodity and placed it in the status of living creatures by imposing penalties that could amount to imprisonment, and paying large fines to those who assaulted them. or torture, or trade. them in a disorganized form.

Under the articles of the new law, a person who kills an animal in danger of extinction will be sentenced to imprisonment of between one and five years, a person who destroys an animal species or a faction with a prison sentence of between 5 and 10 years, and a person who intentionally kills a pet or wanders has a prison sentence of between 6 months and 4 years. The law also prohibits roaming with animals that do not have a registration certificate, and do not carry a snout. But this law came late for endangered animals due to decades of trade and exploitation of their scarcity, and tourists and traders rushed to transfer them to farms, homes and shops around the world.

At the forefront of these animals are the two breeds of cats “Fan” and “Angora”, who warned Turkey, before it was too late, about the dangers they threatened, and instructed Yuzongwil University in Yuan State to do the job. to preserve and enlarge her. number, which in turn established a “villa” for the breeding of these cats.

And this year, 23 cats of the “Fan” breed gave birth to 60 pups, and the fear of their extinction has disappeared, according to the director of the University’s Animal Center, Professor Abdullah Qaya, who is expected to give birth at the next stage. gives between 150 and 200 cats and cats annually, indicating that she will receive with Her puppies have all kinds of care and attention. On the fate of the new cats and their mothers, Qaya declares that the “Cat Villa”, in coordination with the state, gives cats to the parents for adoption and care, and retains some of them for breeding and monitoring.

The world-famous “Van” cat is distinguished by its bright white color, silky fur, different eye color, and the way it walks, as its tail is long like a fox’s, and it is unique in its love of water and swimming. The move to protect the Van katras from extinction came after several states, especially those in the capital, Ankara, took the initiative to protect the rare Angora katras, after its births decreased, and tourists’ purchases increased has due to the advantages of its shiny fur and speed that gave it the first places in races.Cats that are raised annually in Europe.

The Cat Protection Center in Ankara is interested in raising this type of cat, which is one of the oldest breeds with long shiny hair and colorful eyes, after birth in preparation for reaching three months when it was handed over to volunteers who want to take care of kittens of especially the “Angora” breed. “Universities around the world are studying the genetic map of Angora cats, but taking them out of Turkey is currently banned, and the center monitors cats by inserting special slides into their bodies that contain numbers and information to identify them.” said Aisha Korkmaz. an official at the SESRIC.

Turkish interest is not limited to rare cat breeds, but also affects all animals, even stray and homeless. Years ago, the authorities built a 10,000-square-meter cat village in a green forest area, about 20 miles[20 km]from the center of Samsun, and provided all food and treatment services. For about 1,000 cats and kittens. The authorities of the states of Mersin and Çanakkale have also established two exclusive gardens for cats that include all needs under the supervision of specialists and veterinarians. For newborn, disabled and generally unwanted kittens, the Hatay Nature and Life Foundation has established a dedicated city for them in Antioch.

A cat of the Turkish Angora breed (Itas Unal / Anatolia)

Aisha Arslan told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: “Selling Turkish cats to tourists, visitors and rich people living abroad is a crime,” noting that “shops in the Eminino district of Istanbul rare items are sold to tourists, although Turkish cats are rare in the world, and one of the secrets of protecting our country is Because their presence casts out demons. ” She adds: “The Turks love cats, and they raise them in houses, or provide food and drink in the streets, while municipalities are obliged to provide shelter for cats and dogs during the snow and extreme cold. “inherited Ottoman customs, including even stray cats. As for the Angora and Van cats, they differ in shape and beauty, and their number is small, and their price is more than $ 800.”

In a visit to the shops selling cats and pets behind the new mosque “Yeni Jameh”, and another located next to the Egyptian market in the Amino area, “The New Arab” has the large turnout of tourists and Turkish youth seen on the two markets. , but the presence of cats of the “Van” and “Angora” breeds. It was a bit. A shop owner named Genghis informed us that the authorities were monitoring the sales of cats of the two breeds, after their numbers had decreased and they had become threatened. It completely prevented sales in 2015 and 2016, and then allowed that to happen, but it strives to sell cats as a commodity because it wants to limit them to remote catalogs.

Genghis excludes any damage from the sale of cats, even rare ones, emphasizing that “the Turks import rare cats into the world, such as the exotic cat, the Scottish and Japanese cat, the chinchilla and the Egyptian Mau cat, and this beautiful species are available in the homes of the Turks, so why are the Van and Angora cats not spreading in the world? “.

The best known of these Turkish cat stories is for the cat “Tombili”, who died in 2016 when he was the fattest among the country’s cats. The municipality of Kadıköy in Istanbul erected a statue of this cat, which is visited by citizens and tourists, and they put a rosary and a cup of tea next to it, referring to the prosperity he lived. In another story, Mehmet Orhan and his wife Mogvan dreamed of doing a job that would serve the environment, after watching the Turkish movie “The Philosopher of the Farm”, and so they sold their property in Istanbul and went to Antalya, where they rented. a piece of land, and stray stray cats gathered in it in search of heat, food and drink, and bought wood and supplies.To build houses called villas, and to build water troughs, utilities and others. In the state of Izmir, the story revolves around a “polite cat” who wakes up in the morning to join the queue in which people used to queue to buy milk. The face of this cat has become a source of attraction for citizens, which has increased the fame of the milk seller Mustafa Aksakl.

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