Turkish Hunters Give Nature a Hand
Yaban TV's programming includes the shows (clockwise from top left) "Hunting World," "Wilderness Life," "Hunter's Album," and "Hunting Kitchen." Images via Yaban TV.
The Turkish hunting and fishing channel Yaban TV (Wilderness TV) is on a mission to spread a message that should be fairly self-evident: If people who like to hunt and fish don't help protect the environment, there won't be any game left for them to pursue. "We are not hunters," says producer and board member Dr. Ali Bürkev. "We are nature's soldiers."The number of registered hunters in Turkey has jumped from 15,000 to 85,000 in the three years since Yaban TV was founded, but a far larger total of 4 million game hunters and 5 million people who fish are estimated to exist in the country -- a potentially powerful force for nature protection.
As part of his work, Bürkev spends time traveling the country and training hunters, he told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review:
Nature can be protected by the people living in it. That takes training. We provide that. We mobilize people who live in villages by providing them with environmental consciousness. We cannot protect a forest if the people living in it do not. Before the advent of Yaban TV, nature was left in the hands of people with no training. We are changing that.
Without proper education, hunters can deplete animal populations to critical levels. Bürkev gave the example of the Chinese deer, which is now endangered. But they can also be enlisted to help protect animals and their habitat, as via a text-messaging hotline set up by Yaban TV through which hunters and other people enjoying the outdoors can alert the station about illegal or unsustainable hunting, logging, and mining, and other problems affecting the country's hunting grounds.
Perhaps even more surprisingly for Turkey, station officials are also encouraging women to hunt, a development that some say can contribute to improved safety and better environmental protection within the hunting community.
"I began to hunt alongside my husband," said Gaya Güldemir, the widow of station founder Ufuk Güldemir. "He knew everything about the animal he was going to hunt. He taught me to respect animals.... The hunting itself is not important. The real joy is the preparation, waiting in nature for hours." Via: "Hunting channel aims to aid nature protection," Hürriyet Daily News & Economic ReviewMore on hunting and fishing:5 Eco Friendly Hunting TipsThe Eco-Friendly FishermanFish and Hunt LocallyHow to Identify PoachersMechanical Animals to Terminate PoachingHunting & Fishing Regulations Have Serious Unintended Consequences on Animal SizeCoal Released Mercury Ruins Fishing and Duck HuntingBig Game SUV HuntingMichael Pollan Goes Hunting