Oct 26, 2019, 12:58 PM
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Khar Touran Desert: Missing Africa in Iran

Khar Touran Desert, known as Iranian Africa, is a unique place where the tourists enjoy both the pleasure of hiking exercise and the pleasure of visiting wildlife in Iran.

The Khar Touran National Park is the second-largest protected area in Iran which include rare animal and plant species, Moreover, it is known as the second biosphere after Serengeti in the world.

The biosphere reserve of Khar Touran National Park with an area about 1470,640 hectares became the largest one in Iran. The total area of this region separated into three major part as follows: Eight percent belongs to the national park, 17 percent belongs to the wildlife, and 75 percent belongs to the protected area. Khar Touran National Park is known as the Africa of Iran.

From thick forests to mountains, from coastal areas to deserts, vastness and diversity are characteristic of the nature of Iran and so all these can be experienced in the country. Perhaps for this reason it is not surprising to Iranians, to move a short distance from the Hyrcanian Cloud Forests, and reach a dry and semi-arid region called "Turan" or "Khar Turan" in the north of central desert of the country.

Khar Touran National  Park, located southeast of the Iranian city of Shahrud, is considered to be the Africa of Iran,  From its low fields to its mountains, there are habitats of diverse and rare wildlife including mammals such as deer and Pallas cats, birds such as Houbara, Pleske’s ground jay, and White-eyed buzzard, and reptiles such as Desert Monitors, Ja'afari snakes and Iranian horned snakes. Still, Khar Turan’s wildlife is not important just because of the aforementioned rare species, but, for its Asiatic cheetah and Iranian zebra.

Khar Turan National Park contains 41 species of mammal, 167 species of bird, 42 species of reptile, and two species of amphibians. Asiatic cheetah and Persian onager are the prominent fauna of Khar Turan National Park. Khar Turan National Park probably contains a large number of Asiatic cheetah among different region in Iran.

***  The Animals  And Birds In Khan Touran

Moreover, goitered gazelle, chinkara,  Persian leopard, caracal, urial, wild goat, sand cat, wildcat, Pallas's cat, striped hyena, wolf, golden jackal, red fox, and Blanford's fox are the prominent mammals of Khar Turan National Park.

Asiatic cheetah or Iranian cheetah, is a critically endangered cheetah subspecies surviving today only in Iran. It used to occur in India as well, where it is locally extinct. The Asiatic cheetah lives mainly in Iran's vast central desert in fragmented pieces of remaining suitable habitat. Although once common, the cheetah was driven to extinction in other parts of Southwest Asia from Arabia to India including Afghanistan. As of 2013, only 20 cheetahs were identified in Iran but some areas remained to be surveyed.

Bustard, partridge, See-see partridge, quail, Eurasian stone-curlew, Rock dove, Laughing dove, White wagtail, Indian roller, sandgrouse, European greenfinch, Trumpeter Finch, crested lark, Isabelline shrike, sparrow, Ferruginous duck, and heron are the prominent birds of Khar Turan National Park.

Also, this region contains different birds of prey such as Barbary falcon, kestrel, golden eagle, Tawny eagle, Eurasian eagle-owl, Scops owl, Egyptian vulture, Eurasian sparrowhawk, and Common buzzard. Khar Turan National Park is one of the best habitats of Pleske's ground jay which is the only exclusive native bird of Iran. This native bird lives beside Zygophyllum shrubs.

How To Get Khar Touran Desert?

Khar Turan National Park is placed in the eastern side of Semnan province. Also, it is accessible from southern side of Tehran-Mashhad Road, east of Torud village, west of the Deh-e Zaman, and northeast of the central desert of Iran.

You can reach there by road Number 44 which connects Mashhad and Semnan to the city of Beyarjomand.


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