Khosh-Yeilagh is one of the most well-known protected areas located north of Shahrood in Semnan province. For more than four decades, the area has been a historical habitat for the Iranian Cheetah with an initial estimated 50 to 70 cheetahs living in the area in the 1970’s.
For years it was believed that the Iranian Cheetah has become extinct in Khosh-Yeilagh with the last sighting going back to 1983. However, a recent sighting made by the Park Ranger, Mr Ajami, provided hope that cheetahs may still exist there. This was later confirmed again by the Rangers when two cheetahs were sighted.
Subsequently, the Environmental Protection Department of Semnan province started a monitoring project in cooperation with the Iranian Cheetah Society. The objective of the program was initially to observe the conditions of cheetahs in the area and to obtain more information about the rare Iranian cat. The project was started last winter and in the first phase several cameras were installed at locations specified by the park rangers and environmental experts.
The Iranian Cheetah Society has undertaken projects in the past to educate the residents of the near-by villages about cheetahs. As part of the project, art festivals and educational plays have been organised to familiarize residents with cheetah habits and behavior.