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Click here to return to 2019 Annual Report
Mountain Vipers of Anatolia

Search for Darevsky's Viper in the Anatolian mountains

Darevsky's Viper (Vipera darevskii)

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Team Darevsky
Darevski's viper - turkey

Recipients of eight grants from the MBZ Fund over the past ten years, Dr Konrad Mebert and his team of snake experts have been busy chasing endemic vipers throughout the mountains of Anatolia, Turkey.

Provided with $4,800 for this grant and more than $30,00 for all grants combined, Dr. Mebert and his team continued their research mission in Anatolia and are together ‘overhauling the threat status of mountain vipers’ in this area.

Vipers are usually venomous with long fangs, distinctive triangular heads, and camouflaged patterns on their skin. Anatolia, located in north-eastern Turkey, is home to a high diversity of viperid snakes that remain largely unexplored. This team of snake explorers is working to change that.

Darevsky’s viper (Vipera darevskii) is a small venomous snake endemic to north-western Armenia, north-eastern Turkey, and recently found in a few locations in the alpine mountains of southwestern Georgia.

Darevsky’s viper is listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN. The primary threat to this and other vipers is intentional killing. Their declining numbers are also impacted by intensive agricultural practices, construction of dams and clearing of land for cattle grazing. All of which leads to the destruction of their natural habitats and ultimately to the decline of viper diversity in Anatolia.

The support from the MBZ Fund for the 2019 season resulted in additional funding of $2,000 from DGHT-Zürich (a Swiss branch of the German herpetological society) and additional private funding of $1,000. The MBZ Fund’s support for Dr Mebert’s work has significantly increased our understanding of the viper populations in this part of the world and is leading to their conservation.

Project lead by

Konrad Mebert

IUCN Viper Specialist Group

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