When someone says the word “Iran,” people immediately seem to think of politics, oil, or burkas. Rarely do they think about wildlife. Do not let these other things overshadow the immense diversity of natural beauty found in Iran. The wild frontiers of Iran are actually home to some incredible animals, some that you may not even have heard of before. Iran has roughly 20 national parks and 100 nature reserves containing and preserving some rare and interesting species that are excellent places to visit in Iran on your vacation. So if you travel to Iran, make sure that you keep an eye out for some of these beastly beauties.
WHAT KIND OF ANIMALS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?
As you tour Iran, you will notice lots of different critters, some rare, some running all over the place. Iran has a couple of endangered big cats along with 8 different owl species, over 70 different kinds of snakes, camels, deer, wild boar, and more. Here are some examples of the wildlife you might clasp eyes on when you visit Iran.
This subspecies of cheetah now lives only in Iran. They are a bit shorter, slimmer, and paler than the African cheetah, but are not short on speed. Just like its African cousins, the Asiatic cheetah can go from 0 to 96 kph in under 3 seconds! Sadly, this relative of the African cheetah only has a population of between 50-100 that continue to
live in the wild. Khar Turan National Park is the best place to visit in Iran if you want to catch a miraculous glimpse of this antisocial speedster, as the largest number of Asiatic cheetahs can be found here.
This fluffy little rodent masquerading as a hamster can be found frolicking all over Iran’s mountainous and rocky terrain. Unfortunately for these little guys, they are quite numerous and on the bottom on the food chain (aka – the universal snack food for predators in Iran). They weigh anywhere from 125-400 grams, do not hibernate in winter, and are active night and day, so you are sure to see them when you travel to Iran as long as you keep an eye out.
A soldier’s best friend
The Persian brown bear is similar to European brown bears except they are larger. Nowadays there are only 500-1000 of these bears living in Iran and they are a protected species in the country. An interesting tidbit you may not know is that during World War 2, a Persian brown bear actually became famous the world round. Orphaned as a cub, a Persian brown bear was found by a young Iranian boy who then sold it to some Polish soldiers traveling through Iran. The soldiers raised the bear, whom they named Wojtek, almost as one of them and during battle, this fully grown 200+ kg bear actually hauled ammunition to Polish soldiers during the heat of battle. The bear became
so famous that statues were even erected in his honor!
Greater flamingos are actually the largest species of flamingo as well as the palest. Its legs are long and pink, its wing tips black, but their body is not a vibrant pink color. The average Greater flamingo reaches a height of 1.5 meters and weighs about 4 kilograms. Their flocks are usually quite large and they are a beautiful sight to behold, flying in droves over the tranquil lake surfaces of Iran, so do not miss the opportunity to capture some shots of them when you visit Iran’s wild frontiers.
Persian leopards are bigger than African leopards and today, about 800 of them can be found in Iran. Persian leopards prefer to roam around Iran’s mountain ranges and close to the Caspian Sea in its forested areas. These beautiful creatures have golden colored fur and often get very close to their prey before attacking, about 3-10 meters.
Persian Wild Ass
The World’s Most Elegant Donkey
Ok, usually donkeys are not that aesthetically appealing, but that is because you have not seen a Persian wild ass! Would you believe that these animals are actually quite beautiful and elegant looking? Creamy brown on top and a soft pale underneath with smooth coats, the Persian wild ass is quite rare. Today there are only about 400-600 left in the wild, all in Iran. If you want to try to get a picture of one as you tour Iran, the largest number of them can be found in Khar Turan National Park.
WILDLIFE TOUR OF IRAN
Even if you do not go on a tour of Iran that is focused solely on wildlife, make sure you incorporate at least a bit of photo hunting for Iran’s beautiful and unique animals. Whether it is birds, big cats, or bears, a glimpse of these rare creatures is sure to add a special dimension to your trip. Enjoy the wide expanses of nature in Iran and see a world that few people have ventured into: Iran’s wild frontiers.
Photos from sources: wallpaper77.com, biologydecoded.com, allventure.com, animals-partner.blogspot.com, photos.v-d-brink.eu, wallpaperhi.com