By Burak Özkırlı, Wed, 11/11/2015 - 09:08
Ceylanpınar, located in the Urfa (or Şanlıurfa) province of Turkey, is next to the Syrian border. As a result, it has felt the effects of the ongoing civil war in Syria and skirmishes between the YPG (the Kurdish People’s Protection Units) and ISIS.
The region, which contains one of the single largest pieces of farmland in the world, is also a Key Biodiversity Area monitored by Doğa Derneği (BirdLife in Turkey) staff and volunteers. It is the home of the Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius), one of the most threatened bird species in the world (listed as Critically Endangered on the updated IUCN Red List of Birds, an assessment of bird species carried out by BirdLife International for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species).
The Sociable Lapwing is a strikingly-patterned plover that breeds in parts of Turkey, Egypt, the Middle East, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and spends its winters mainly in Israel, Eritrea, Sudan and north-west India. In northern Kazakhstan, the species declined by 40% during 1930-1960, followed by a further halving of numbers during 1960-1987. Today, there are only 5,600 breeding pairs left in the world. Their decline is likely due to habitat degradation, as well as the pressures of hunting and illegal killing along its migration route and breeding grounds.