Monday, January 3, 2011

Study- Israel's Wildlife Conservation Efforts Successful


Recently, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority released data showing that the nation's wildlife conservation efforts have proved to be successful in reintroducing the oryx, the fallow deer, and the roe deer in the nation's wild places. Among the key ecological hotspots include the Galilee and Negev. The animals play a key role in reducing excess vegetation in areas at risk of fires, and scattering of seeds in desert areas. Last week, the Parks Authority had held a conference to present its activity in these areas. During this conference, Prof. David Saltz of Negev's Ben-Gurion University showed results of a years-long project involving the reintroduction of animals that were once native to Israel and became extinct. These include wild ox, deer, and even the magnificent oryx. The authority raised these creatures in facilities on the Carmel and in the Arava, gradually returning them into the wild over a twenty-year period. Prof. Saltz claimed that the efforts have been successful. His presentation showed that there are currently 200 onagers in Negev, and are multiplying healthily. Fallow deer have returned to the Achziv region, and there are currently some 200 of them living there. But attempts to bring them to the Nahel Sorek region in the Jerusalem Hills were unsuccessful, due to attacks by stray dogs. Recently though, there were reports of this kind of disturbance in the Achziv region.

Although I'm proud to see that Israel has done everything it could to bring its local wildlife back, there are some considerations to be taken. One of the threats just mentioned in this article is conflict with domestic animals. In this case, stray dogs. Not only do these dogs attack the animals, but they also spread disease which can be catastrophic for deer and other wild species. I think that one possible solution would be to handle the stray dog situation, in which the animals would be rescued, receive special attention, and be adopted as pets. That way, the wildlife population in the Achziv and Nahel Sorek region will stay safe. Also, the deer and oryx play an important in their ecosystem in maintaining the balance by feeding on excess vegetation. Without them, the Israeli wild lands would change dramatically.

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