The southeastern part of Touran protected area with an area of 303330 ha which has been protected since 1972, became a wildlife refuge in 1976. As a part of the vast Touran region, this area was selected as a biosphere reserve in the same year. This desert area is located in Semnan Province. Altitude ranges between 700 and 2200 mm, annual precipitation between 78 mm and 231 mm and absolute maximum and minimum temperatures are 42.2 C and – 15.6 C respectively. The climate is extra-arid to temperate arid with hot summers and winters.
Touran is home to one of the largest populations of the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah. There are about 12-15 of these charismatic cats in the National Park area. Occasional reports of females with cubs indicate a breeding and perhaps growing population. In addition, Khar Touran has the largest population of Persian onager and two species of gazelles, the goitered gazelle and the Indian gazelle, both in good numbers.
The refuge boasts an exceptionally rich plant and animal biodiversity. Sparse rangeland vegetationwith prickly thrift, ephedra, halocnemum strobilaceom, soda planet, salt tree, halostachys, fennel, wormseed, kashgar tree, almond, cotton cousinia, goat’s beard, rosinweed, bitter apple, dog’s union, tamarisk, saxaul, bean caper, willow, trileaf butter cup and wild Syrian rue is the dominant vegetation cover of the area. The most important animal species are wild ass, leopard, cheetah, jebeer gazelle, goitred gazelle, wild goat, Northern three-toed jerboa, hamster, gerbil, hyrna, wildcat, cape hare, marbled, polecat, caracal, houbara bustard, Pleske’s ground jay, heron, ferruginous duck, eagle, falcon, peregrine falcon, sand grouse, see-see partridge, different buzzards, goshawk, eagle owl, agama, monitor, Iranian spiny-tailed lizard, saw-scaled viper, and cobra. High biodiversity of the region has paved the way for scientific, educational and research activities in the refuge.