The Arasbaran Conservation Area lies in the northwest of Iran in the southern foothills of the Caucasus, on the border with Armenia and Azerbaijan. It was founded in 1971 on an area of 383 square kilometers as a game reserve. Today, the reserve covers nearly 725 square miles and is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Since 2007, the area is on the recommended list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Flora and Fauna
The mountains that reach over 2200 m in height, are covered with forests, alpine grasslands, steppes and rocks. A peculiarity among the vegetation zones are the forests that are reminiscent of Hyrkanische forests, but more are dominated by Caucasian types. The area is home to some Persian leopards, but adjustments are exposed by the population. Especially poisoned meat baits that are designed for wolves, provide a major problem Stocks of prey, such as wild goats and wild sheep Armenian, however, are relatively high. Other animals in the reserve are, for example, brown bears, lynx and northern deer. A reintroduction program for red deer has so far been unsuccessful. The animals are currently living in an enclosure.
A few kilometers northwest on the opposite side of the Aras River in Azerbaijan is the Basutchay Reserve, which is directly adjacent to the Armenian Shikahogh Reserve. About 70 km westwards, on Iranian territory lies the 884 square kilometer Kiamaky National Wildlife Refuge, which is one of the most protected areas in the Iranian Caucasus and is home to a relatively large number of rare Persian leopards. Further to the west lies the 972 square kilometer Marakan - reserve.
- Ali Aghili: Leopard Survey in Caucasus Ecoregion (North West) of Iran. Leopard conservation society. Centre for Sustainable development ( CENESTA ). Iran Department of Environment, Natural Environment and Biodiversity office ( November 2005) PDF online.
- Shackleton, D., M., (ed. ) and the IUCN / SSC Caprinae Specialist Group, 1997. Wild Sheep and Goats and Their Relatives. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan for Caprinae. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.