Located on the border of present-day Afghanistan and Iran and fed by the Helmand River, the 2,000-square-kilometer (800-square-mile) wetlands formed a true oasis in the middle of hundreds of kilometers of arid plains. The wetlands provided those around them with an abundant source of fish, game, and fresh water for farming. Their dense marshes and clear lakes supported all manner of wildlife from carp to otter to leopard.
Their location far from any other substantial body of fresh water made them an ideal stop for migrating birds traveling south to the Indian Ocean.
Sitting on the border of Iran and Afghanistan, the Hamoun wetlands are one of the few sources of fresh water in the arid plains of Central Asia.
Within the past five years, however, the once fertile wetlands have deteriorated rapidly.