Established in 1979 for the protection and restoration of indigenous flora and fauna, it is located on the in the north-west of Daşoguz Province in northern Turkmenistan. Plateau at the southern spur of the Ustyurt Plateau at the border with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan (Karakalpakstan) within the north-west of Daşoguz Province in northern Turkmenistan. It covers an area of 2822 km².
Some 26 species of mammals, 147 species of birds, and 918 species of higher plants have been recorded within Kaplankyr reserve. Protected rare species of animals found in the reserve include, Central Asian gazelle, the Ustyurt mountain sheep, ratel as well as substantial populations of saiga antelopes that migrate from Karakalpakstan in the winter are also protected in the nature reserve. Plants include the Khiva thistle, Turkmen tulip, Antonia's gypsophila, Karelin sand acacia, and 55 other endemic species.
The Gaplaňgyr nature reserve also incorporates two sanctuaries: Sarygamyş Sanctuary, which established in 1980 as a lake-coastal ecosystems, and Şasenem Sanctuary, to preserve the kulans, Equus hemionus kulan, a subspecies of onager, the Asian wild ass, and which was established in 1984 for stony desert preservation.