Mostly, we talk about how Iran has gone through many historical ups and downs or how the people are, how the culture, society, costumes and even the food is.
But, there is more to Iran than the mentioned categories. The Wildlife and Iran’s nature for instance which are amazing to talk about.
Those who are fascinated by wildlife and nature could also find Iran very interesting. This type of ecotourism is growing by the day in Iran.
Nature, as the main platform of ecotourism, is a collection of very diverse components. With a little care in every part of it, from the microscopic creatures to the largest ecosystems on earth, you encounter a world of mysteries and beauties known as wildlife.
Scientifically speaking, the word “wildlife” refers to any living thing, from plants to animals or microscopic creatures. However, this is not exactly the concept when we come to traveling and tourism.
What is known as wildlife in the tourism industry are mainly animals, including vertebrates with five categories: birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
Iran has the most diverse geography and climate and rich biodiversity. Our country, Iran, is located at the crossroads of animal and plant distribution in neighboring regions and has contributed to the diversity of their wildlife.
As animals come to mind first when we talk about wildlife, Iran has 194 species of mammals, about 552 species of birds, 21 species of amphibians and 254 species of reptiles, 442 species of butterflies, and about 20,000 species of insects.
However, we must mention that experts believe that the extent of dispersion is directly related to the speed of the animal’s movement. Birds and mammals are more widely distributed than amphibians.
Iranian animals are known by gradual studies of different groups of animals, but so far no concerted effort has been made to register all Iranian animals regularly.
Based upon the Iranian Environmental Protection Agency’s data, 2000 species of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and inland fish, and about 1200 species of fish in marine waters have been identified in onshore and inland ecosystems.
Importantly, the wildlife of Iran has around 76 species that are on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency of Iran announced that at least 74 species of animals in this country are on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
In addition to the endangered wildlife creatures, Iranian cheetah, mammals such as the Persian yellow deer, the Asian zebra, the Caspian jawbone, the bustard, the leopard, the Asian black bear, the short-snouted crocodile, the blue whale, and the fin whale are endangered too.
Due to Iran’s large area, special climatic, and geographical conditions, it has different habitats with diverse plant and animal species.
This diversity and abundance among mammal species have made Iran’s wildlife so great that Iran can be called a collection of mammals all around the world like in Europa, Africa, and Asia.
Iran also has its specific mammals. For example, mammals such as roe deer, Persian honey badger, and edible dormouse, which are distributed in the north and northwest of Iran.
Honeybadger, desert hedgehog, and fruit-eating bat found in the southern regions of the country are African mammals. Black bears, Baluchi squirrels, and Indian desert jirds have also been sighted in the east and southeast of the country.
Insect-eating species like a shrew, Persian yellow deer, Persian onager (zebra), and Asian cheetah are the exclusive mammals of Iran according to some zoologists who have studied Iran’s wildlife carefully.
The dwarf shrew is the world’s smallest mammal, and the blue whale with 130 tons, the world’s largest mammal.
After mammals, the next classification of our country’s wildlife leads us all to the amphibians and reptiles. With a sharp scientific look, some biologists separate this one category into two: reptiles and amphibians, and examine them apart from one another.
According to this classification, there are 4 types of reptiles in the world: Testudines, Crocodilia, Squamata, and Rhynchocephalia, and the reptile species found in Iran are snakes, worms, turtles, and crocodiles.
Mugger Crocodile: or broad-snouted crocodile in Iran, there is a specific crocodile called “Persian Crocodile”. The main habitat of this crocodile is 380000 hectares and is Mugger Crocodile Protected Area.
These sites are under the protection of the Environment Organization of Iran’s wildlife. Most of these crocodiles are concentrated in ponds in southern Baluchestan.
Biologists estimate the number of these Mugger Crocodile up to 400. In the distant past, however, the crocodile’s biological range extended to the southern coast of Iraq.
Mugger Crocodile is a carnivore and an ambush hunter and has a varied diet that includes fish, reptiles, and mammals. Smaller Mugger Crocodiles feed more on insects, amphibians, crustaceans, small fish. Larger Mugger Crocodile on birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals.
Mugger Crocodile is also on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and wildlife (IUCN).
These animals of the wildlife live in an environment, which also could be an attraction for those who seek to know Mother Nature. Other than Iran’s wildlife and Iran’s nature owes its diversity to its broad geography. In This geography, one could find different climates which is why Iran possesses a rich collection of plants.
You could spot the world’s hottest place in the Dasht-e Lut and drive just a couple of hours away, and freeze in the mountains covered in snow.
The wildlife aside, Iran has the richest collection of plant species in the Middle East with about twelve thousand plant species. These species include a variety of trees and plants from subtropical forests to the desert and terrestrial plants.
More than one-tenth of Iran’s area is forest cover. The most extensive forests have trees like oak, spruce, elm, cypress and are found on the mountain slopes near the Caspian Sea.
Inside the Iranian plateau, oak trees are found on Zagros mountains’ slopes too. Trees such as sycamore, poplar, willow, walnut, beech, maple, and mulberry grow in rural areas.
In spring, most of Iran’s plains are covered with wild plants, flowers, and shrubs, providing food for the cattle. However, in summer, the hot sun could destroy them and this happens a lot.
According to FAO reports, the main types of forests in Iran are Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests of the north, mountain forests and juniper forests in the northeastern, Pistachio forests in the east, south, and southeast, Oak forests in the central and western regions, shrubs of desert and plains in the central and northeastern parts, and the subtropical forests of the southern coasts, such as the mangrove forests.