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Visit to one of world's few protected shelters of Persian fallow deer in north Iran

Yusef Jalali

Press TV, Sari

Persian fallow deer is a unique but endangered deer species known for its sleek and spotted body. In this report, our correspondent Yusef Jalali takes us on a quick tour around one of the world's few protected shelters of Persian fallow deer in Iran's northern city of Sari.

We had to keep quiet and avoid making any sounds to film them, as they are shy and swift, and the slightest sound could send them sprinting and jumping away.

Some 60 Persian fallow deer roam in Dasht-e Naaz wildlife refuge in Iran's northern city of Sari in Mazandaran province. 

The endangered deer species is carefully protected here to be safe from predators and poachers.

Persian fallow deer are mainly indigenous to open woodland areas spanning from east Mediterranean coasts to west and southwest Iran.

By 1875, they had gone extinct in all of their main habitats except in southwest Iran. After a captive breeding program, the population has rebounded from only a handful of deer in the 1960s to over 200 individuals in Iran.

The Persian fallow deer is a rare ruminant mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. They are physically larger than other fallow deer, and their antlers are bigger and less palmate.

Their special beauty has turned this sanctuary into a hot tourist attraction in Iran's north.

In 2015, the Persian fallow deer was registered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Dasht-e Naaz authorities hope through continued captive-breeding, the population of these special creatures will soon reach the desired number, and hopefully, they will be reintroduced to their natural habitat in southwest Iran.

While they live far from their original habitats, these alluring creatures feel at home here, where they will be safe from the dangers lurking outside which may expedite their extinction.

So here, Persian fallow deers continue to embellish nature and at the same time charm visitors with their beauty.

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