The Bafq Protected Area received its designation as a protected area in 1996. Located more than 770 kilometers south of Tehran, in Yazd province in central Iran, it encompasses an area of 885 km2. The reserve is in an arid mountainous region typified by sparse plains and rolling hills. Altitudes vary between 1,060 and 2,860 m, and mean annual precipitation and temperature are 70 mm and 16°C, respectively.
Springs, wells, wind pumps and small dams constructed at high altitude are the main water sources in the region. Some of the main plant species are juniper, Turk terebinth pistache, mountain almond, tamarisk species, saxaul, wormwood, and camel’s thorn. Bafq supports several mammal species, including the Persian leopard, Asiatic cheetah, chinkara (a gazelle), wild sheep, and wild goat; wild cat and caracal are other charismatic mammals inhabiting the area.
Bafq is one of the key leopard hotspots in central Iran, with regular records of breeding, making it a hub for dispersal and colonization of the surrounding areas. In recent years, Iran’s Department of the Environment has put tremendous efforts into enhancing conservation in the area, with the close participation of local corporations and authorities.