Northeastern Iran – particularly the Iran–Turkmenistan borderlands – harbours some of the largest population cores of the Persian leopard in the Middle East. As the best known reserve in the region, Tandoureh National Park has been the main hub of the Project Future4Leopards since its establishment in 2013. However, GPS information from the satellite collars confirmed that ranging patterns go well beyond the Tandoureh reserve, which convinced the Project that there was a need to expand leopard management right across the landscape, rather than confining it to a single reserve.
In May 2016, in partnership with the Khorasan Bureau of the Department of the Environment, a number of reserves along the border were surveyed to understand the status of the leopard and its prey species. Those visited were the Jangal Khajeh, Ors Sistan, Dorbadam, and Gharchagheh Protected Areas, for which possible actions to improve conservation were discussed with local authorities. Jangal Khajeh is about 185 km southeast of Tandoureh, whereas the last three areas are close to or contiguous with the park. To assist with studies on conservation methods in the regions alongside the border, a Master’s student from the University of Tehran has been hired to carry out a systematic status assessment and will be supported by the Project in 2017.