Touran National Park

Also known as: Khar Turan National Park, Touran Wildlife Refuge, Turan National Park

What is this place?


Khar Touran National Park is the second largest biosphere reserve on the planet with a whopping size of 1.4 million hectares.  It is home to the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah, which is also a national symbol among Iranian creatures.  The park contains the largest population of the onager or Persian zebra and two types of gazelles that happen to be in good numbers.  This peaceful place may also grab the interest of gardeners and those who love to be around many flowers or plants.

 

Unique Creatures


The Asiatic cheetah survives only in Iran.  It used to be in India too but went extinct.  Officials have been raising international awareness for the protection of these rare cats over the past couple of years.   What started out as just one, there are now around 15 of the cheetahs roaming the reserve; the more the merrier.  Animal lovers may be delighted to know that the park is also home to more than 40 species of mammals, over 40 reptiles, hundreds of birds, 2 amphibians and the occasional fish; what more can you want.  

 

The Land


The combined geography and suitable weather conditions have made Touran the dwelling place for a combination of different flowers and plants.  The area is surrounded by mountains with some reaching 2,000 meters in height and salt flats are present due to a nearby salt desert called Kavir-e-Namak.  With hot summers and cold winters, Touran is a special habitat of steppe grasslands in Central Asia and Desert-Saharas.

 

Worldwide Recognition


Iran’s High Council on Environmental Protection classified Touran as a Protected Area in 1972.  Four years after that, UNESCO identified the place as a Biosphere Reserve. A biosphere reserve means an area that demonstrates a modern approach to living and working in harmony with nature.

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