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Protection and sustainability, exportation of some spe-cies of Medicinal Leeches (Hirudo medicinalis L., 1758 and Hirudo verbana Carena, 1820)

For this study, leech collectors in Samsun wetland, that has the potential to export the biggest leech, were contacted. Some wetlands in region were visited and export products leech speci-mens were sampled and these samples were identified. Collection activity of commercial leech collectors was investigated in place. In addition, leech export status of last six years together with the export quota from 1996 to the present time was evaluated. In recent years, it was be-lieved that collected and exported medicinal leechs from Turkey's wetlands was only belonging to Hirudo medicinalis species. But, medicinal leech from Kızılırmak delta that are vast major-ity of the leech collected from Turkey was seen to belong to Hirudo verbana species. It is well known that both H. medicinalis and H. verbana are used as medicinal purpose. Medicinal leeches are applied export quotas from our country depending on Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Only portion 38.39% (2303.5 kg) of the quota (6000 kg) permitted by the Ministry was able to be exported in 2008 year. As a consequence, it was shown to be not reached the quota and even exported amount of medicinal leech decrease year over year. These decline shows that medicinal leeches (H. medicinalis and H. verbana) collection was no enough and their population decreased for our wetlands.

Author(s): Naim SALAM

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