Rare jungle cat spotted in central Turkey

A rare jungle cat was spotted for the first time in Turkey's central Eskişehir province.

Emir Özay, a Master's forestry student at the Bartın University, captured images of the cat, whose scientific name is Felis chaus.

Jungle cats -- generally seen in wetlands and reed fields --- are medium-sized cats native to South Asia, Caucasus, Middle East and southern China.

The sandy or yellowish grey animals are considered an endangered species in Turkey.

"They come out in the night and it is difficult to spot them and take their photos in the mornings," Özay told Anadolu Agency.

"I have previously spotted caracals and wildcats in Eskişehir. This time, I managed to capture the photos of a jungle cat for the first time in this province," he said.

Assistant Prof. Nuri Kaan Özkazanc, who mentors Özay at the Bartın University, praised his student's efforts.

"The jungle cat [generally] lives in [Turkey's] Isparta, Denizli, Konya, and Adana [provinces]. It is great to see them in Eskişehir. It a rare and elusive breed," he said.

"Our greatest wish is that endangered animals are protected," he added.

Another academic in Eskişehir also welcomed Özay's efforts.

"Their presence in Eskişehir and nearby areas was already known but they have not been photographed before," Unal Ozelmas, assistant professor of zoology at the Eskişehir Osmangazi University told Anadolu Agency.

"This will contribute to the fauna of the city," added Özelmas, who conducts researches on vertebrate animals.

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