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By Mitra Gholami
Being the first and therefore oldest wildlife park in Iran, Golestan National Park is registered as a nature reserve and natural heritage by UNESCO and gives you the pleasure of a lifetime experience. Imagine traveling on one of the major routes of Golestan province towards the east. You’ll join the road that runs between interwoven canopies of thick Caspian and Hyrcanian Forests. These forests go lush green in spring and summer and cast their shadows over the wild boars that surprisingly, are accustomed to the presence of humans and can be found along the road.
The biodiversity of these landscapes also varies since there’s a drastic shift in weather and climate. You can walk among different areas from green mixed forests towards mountainous or semi-arid steppes and see brown bears, urials, Persian ibexes, grey wolves, goitered gazelles, pikas, wild boars, and reptiles such as different snakes, vipers, cobras, agamas, and monitor lizards. Goitered gazelles look different according to the hot and cold seasons; they look brighter in the summers, while they’re furrier in winters. You can see or take cute pictures from their pretty little fawns in the spring.
By Mitra Gholami
With about 400,000 hectares, Kavir National Park is an ecological zone extending over the boundaries of Semnan, Tehran, Qom, and Isfahan. This beautiful park carries the exact definition of its title. Kavir which is a Farsi word equivalent to desert embodies the environment and the dominant climatic condition in the area. Located on the western side of Dasht-e Kavir, this protected area is a clear representation of life and its miracles appearing in such hot and arid places; it unravels the complexity of the desert’s beautiful stories. A great part of the park is covered with a white salt marsh called Namak lake which creates scenic landscapes under the rays of the sun. The water flowing into this salt lake is home to a great number of migratory birds in the winter and comes from Qom river, one of the few rivers that crosses the desertland of Iran.
Within its stunning vegetation, this National Park has been home to the largest population of jebeer (or Indian) gazelles and particular species such as cat-like carnivore, Asiatic cheetah, grey wolf, striped hyena, Persian leopard, red fox, goat, and ram. Moreover, Persian onagers have been introduced to this exceptional environment recently. Caracals and sand cats are one of the precious charms of the park.