Bijar: A Protected Area in Iran's Kurdistan Province
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The "Bijar" protected zone is located in the northeast of Iran's western province of Kurdistan, 15 kilometers from Bijar city. The region is an expanse of natural landscapes and an ideal place for research, exploration and sightseeing.
The Bijar region with an area of 72 thousand hectares was proclaimed as a protected zone in the year 1971.
Broadly speaking the Bijar protected zone consists of low mountains and hillocks interspersed with deep valleys. This region is regarded among the cold areas of Iran with relatively cold and long winters and short and cool summers. The cold season usually starts in early Azar roughly corresponding to December and continues till mid Farvardin or early April.
Sometimes heavy snowfalls on the heights bring about a frosty and chilly weather. Extreme cold makes life difficult for the fauna and therefore flocks of birds and herds of animals migrate to more moderate climes during winter. Thus different species of birds and animals are seen around the rural areas. Many springs and rivers of the region owe their sources to the heavy snows and rainfall of the region.
The "Qezel Owzan" is one of the principal rivers of the Bijar protected zone which flows towards the Sample Imagesouth. It rises from the "Chehelcheshmeh" highlands and the "Saral" area around "Divandareh" town. The banks of the river are a very important place for winter habitation of animals and birds.
The "Qam Chaqa" River flowing in the north of Bijar is almost as important as the "Qezel Owzan". This river flows from the west to the east and it rises from the heights of the "Zarnikh" and "Qara Gol" mountains. Having crossed the protected zone and villages, the river is called "Goorani" and joins the "Qezel Owzan".
Regarding the special conditions of the region's ecosystem, it could be said that this zone enjoys a wide variety of plant species. Generally speaking, the flora of the zone consists of shrubs and bushes. Here we can mention hawthorn, barberry, mountain fig, and elegantine. There are also numerous plants such as goat' thorn, clover, licorice, chicory, yarrow, shallot and garden thyme. Altogether from the 1400 plant species recording in Kurdistan Province, the Bijar protected zone is home to 500 ones.
The fauna of the Bijar protected zone can be categorized into mammals, birds, reptiles, and aquatics. So far there have been 30 species of mammals discovered in the region. But some researchers believe that there are more species still to be discovered and studied. The most numerous are ibex and ram. Among other species we can mention the wild boar, wolf, bear, hyena, fox, and certain other animals.
Ornithologists have so far listed 140 species of birds in this region, including golden eagle, falcon, common partridge, and grouse.
The rivers "Qezel Owzan" and "Qam Chaqa" provide an ideal place for the spawning and nutrition of aquatics, especially various kinds of fish. There are different species of reptiles in the Bijar protected zone. According to researchers, there are 20 species of reptiles of which the viper snake, the green lizard, the common lizard, and the chameleon, are common.
Bijar is not the only protected zone in Kurdistan Province. Other protected zones in this western Iranian province are "Abdur-Razzaq" with an expanse of 40,000 hectares, "Koosalaan-Shaloo" with an expanse of 57,000 hectares, and "Badr va Parishan" with an expanse of 37,000 hectares. In the last named one, hunting is prohibited. These three protected zones are similar to the Bijar zone in terms of the various species of flora and fauna.