Mooteh Protected Area

Site description (1994 baseline):

Site location and context
The site lies in an intermontane basin on the western edge of the Central Plateau, c.135 km north-west of Isfahan. About half is mountainous (peaks rising to 2,930 m) or rolling foothills (2,000-2,225 m), and the remainder comprises open plains in four valley regions (1,770-2,000 m). The dominant plant community throughout most of the site is tragacanthic steppe with Artemisia. Land ownership is public. Livestock are grazed.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. The avifauna of the reserve is characteristic of the extensive semi-arid steppic plains which fringe the central desert basin of Iran. Other breeding species include Aquila chrysaetos, Falco tinnunculus, Pterocles orientalis (particularly common), Columba livia, Streptopelia decaocto, Athene noctua, Coracias garrulus, Upupa epops and Lanius excubitor (presumed). Passage migrants include Falco peregrinus, and F. pelegrinoides is an occasional visitor.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Capra hircus aegagrus (rare), Ovis ammon (rare, estimated 700–800 in 1970), Gazella subgutturosa (rare, c.5,000), Lynx lynx (rare), Canis lupus (V), Acinonyx jubatus (V; an occasional visitor in the mid- and late 1970s, but has not been observed in recent years).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
A Protected Region of 343,940 ha was established in 1964, primarily for the protection of the gazelle. This was reduced to 291,920 ha in the early 1970s, and re-notified partly as a Wildlife Refuge (132,720 ha) and partly as a Protected Area (159,200 ha). The reserve was further reduced to 200,000 ha in the 1980s, and the Wildlife Refuge was downgraded to Protected Area. There is very heavy grazing by domestic sheep and goats throughout the well-watered parts of the reserve. Sheet erosion has been very damaging to mountain slopes in a number of parts of the reserve.

Data-sheet compiled by Dr D. A. Scott, reviewed by Dept of Environment.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Mooteh Protected Area. Downloaded from on 28/02/2024.