Located some 120 kilometers WSW of Tandoureh near the town of Esfarayen in North Khorasan province, Sarigol and Salouk National Parks are two remarkable reserves. Sarigol, with an area of 70 km2, is mainly composed of hilly terrain developing into high rolling mountains, whereas Salouk (117 km2) has more rocky outcrops and terrains and ranges in altitude from 1,400 to 2,940 m. Salouk’s southern open plains are inhabited by goitered gazelle, which is absent from Sarigol.
A mean annual temperature of 14°C and mean annual precipitation of 273 mm give these areas a temperate semi-arid climate. The vegetation is generally dominated by Astragalus and Artemisia, forming a bush-steppe habitat in most of the area, with pockets of juniper, barberry, and willow. Potential ungulate prey in the leopard diet includes urial, Persian wild goat, and Eurasian wild pig. Both parks also support a diverse range of carnivores, including grey wolf, striped hyena, wild cat, and Pallas’s cat. Livestock grazing is not permitted in the National Parks. Nonetheless, a number of nomadic pastoralists graze the neighbouring protected areas (which are outside the National Parks) during summer (May–August) each year. In addition, local residents in surrounding villages keep domestic animals, mainly sheep and goat.