The reserve which covers 877 km2 (339 sq mi) of the Bathyz Plateau ecosystem was established in Mary Province, between the Kushka River and Tejen River in 1941. Its landscape comprises solitary or groups of foothills, ranging in height from 20 to 200 m. The average annual precipitation of the reserve is about 280 mm, with a maximum of 420 mm and a minimum of 130 mm. Its short spring is followed by a long hot summer with 4–5 months of hot weather and little cooling winds.
The Reserve is an important stronghold of the Asiatic wild ass. It was once the last place, where the Turkmen subspecies of this equid (Equus hemionus kulan) was found. The wild ass population increased from 200, when the reserve was founded to 5000 animals. After a strong decline, there are now about 650 wild ass in the sanctuary. Other large animals of Bathyz are Afghan urials, wild boars, Persian leopards, striped hyenas, and goitred gazelles. The population of these gazelles declined from a maximum of 5000-7000 in the 1980s to about 2000.
^Moehlman, Patricia D. (ed.). 2002). Equids: Zebra, Asses, and Horses. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Equid Specialist Group., Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
^V. G. Heptner and A. A. Sludskii: Mammals of the Soviet Union Vol. II, Part 2 CARNIVORA (Hyaenas and Cats). Leiden, New York, 1992 ISBN 90-04-08876-8.
^Mallon, D.P. and Kingswood, S.C. (compilers). (2001). Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Global Survey and Regional Action Plans. SSC Antelope Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
National Program for the Protection of the Environment, Ashgabat, 2002, pp. 149-151 (Russian)