An Anatolian leopard was killed by a shepherd in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Nov. 3. The leopard was shot in the foot before the recent incident, according to the forensic reports.
The experts who performed the autopsy on the two-year-old male leopard found an old bullet wound, meaning the leopard was seen and shot before.
The incident drew attention back to a species long thought extinct within Turkey’s borders. The shepherd, Kasım Kaplan said the animal suddenly attacked him from behind while he was outside his village watching his grazing cattle.
“We were on a cliff when all of the sudden something jumped on me. I wrestled with the animal but did not recognize it. We fell about 1.5 meters and rolled 10 meters. I was injured by his claws when he jumped on me again, where we fell,” Kaplan said.
At that point, his cousin Mahmut Kaplan, who was accompanying him, shot the animal with his rifle.
A biologist from Diyarbakır’s Dicle University analyzed the dead animal’s body, and said it was the first time he had seen such a leopard since a previous one was killed in the nearby Siirt province in 2010, which had been the first leopard seen in Anatolia for more than 35 years.