Red deer population rises in Golestan National Park

December 12, 2020 - 17:32

TEHRAN – The population of red deer in Golestan National Park, northern Golestan province, has increased to 612 in the current [Iranian calendar] year (began on March 20), an increase of 13 percent year on year.

Maral, the Iranian red deer, is one of the largest deer types that unfortunately their population has declined in the country. However, the red deer occur literally from the shores of the Caspian Sea to the high alpine meadows of the Alborz Mountains.

The mating of red deer begins in the second half of September each year and lasts for a month.

According to the latest monitoring in maral habitats during the mating season, the population of this species in Golestan National Park has been counted 612, which was recorded 540 last year, director of Golestan National Park Mehdi Teymouri said.

Road construction, land-use change and livestock overgrazing in the Hyrcanian forests, and, most importantly, the presence of poachers are among the main factors influencing the decline of the maral population, he lamented.

More than 2,000 marals lived in the park, according to the animal population census of the late 1970s, which dropped by 80 percent to about 200 in the early 2010s, he stated.

In recent years, with the implementation of appropriate programs and the cooperation of the people, related organizations, and senior national and provincial officials, along with the efforts of environmentalists, the population of this valuable species in Golestan National Park has increased significantly, he concluded.

The national park is a unique refuge for wildlife that has been facing problems in recent years due to man-made damages.

Stretched to 87,402 hectares, it is home to one-seventh of Iran's plant species, one-third of all birds, and half of the country's mammals, hosting 1,350 plant species and 302 wildlife species. It has been listed as one of the top fifty ecosystems on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1930.

So far, 150 species of birds have been identified in Golestan National Park. Golden Eagle, eastern imperial eagle, saker falcon, falcon, and bearded vulture are among the endangered birds of the park. Other birds of Golestan National Park include common pheasants, shrikes, griffon vulture, rosy starling, typical warblers, wheatears, finches, and common blackbirds.

The park holds a share of 3 species of amphibians and 24 species of reptiles.

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