Summer is the perfect time to give you an update about the Persian fallow deer conservation program.
We are very excited to report that our captive breeding center at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo has produced no less than 10 baby darlings this year. But what we’re most excited to tell you about is the fact that there was a birth within our acclimatization area in the Jerusalem hills – that means that a baby deer was recently born in the wild!
Currently we have 8 deer in the acclimatization area awaiting release into the wild proper. The release has been delayed due to technical problems with the new GPS collar tracking system but we hope to have these resolved very soon so that we will be able to obtain instant, accurate tracking data via the internet.
And that’s not all – we recently received a wonderful validation of the success of this project: members of the public sent in video images of an adult male Persian fallow deer in the Tzur Hadassah area near Jerusalem. From the images, our zoological team is able to tell that, not only was this magnificent male born in the wild (due to the absence of a tracking collar), but he has survived and thrived for at least 3 years! The importance of this sighting is not limited to the receipt of new information - we are also really happy to see that our education outreach efforts to the local community are paying off: the community not only supports our conservation initiative but is actively partnering with us! (You can view the video clip below.)
Thank you for your continued support of this very important wildlife conservation project. It is our privilege to be able to share these success stories with all of you.
Warm regards from us all,
Team Fallow Deer at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
Hello Persian fallow deer enthusiasts!
In our last report, we explained that we were planning a Spring release and indeed, on February 15th, we transported 6 deer to the acclimatization area at the Nahal Soreq Nature Reserve. After 3 weeks within the acclimatization area, 3 males and 3 females were released into the wild proper. From our monitoring, we know they are doing well.
At present, we are tracking the deer with radio telemetry tracking collars which require our staff to physically patrol the release area with a base unit in order to monitor the progress of released animals. We are awaiting 2 GPS tracking collars donated via the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. The importance of GPS collars is that we are able to obtain instant, accurate data via the internet. Of-course these collars are much more expensive and so we hope to add more in due course.
Our zoological team is planning a further release within the next month or so and we will provide you with an update in our next progress report.
Thank you for your continued support of this very important wildlife conservation project. Because of you the deer referred to in the Bible once again roam the Judean hills.
The Team at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
Since I last updated you on this exciting wildlife conservation program, our zoological team has been tracking the released deer and compiling and collating heaps of data about their behavior in the wild. This information is very important because of the rarity of the species in the wild and because so little is known about their natural behaviors.
Our team uses radio telemetry tracking devices to monitor the movement of the deer via their electronic tracking collars; and monitoring infra-red cameras are placed at various locations throughout their release range. Our team has been very interested to learn, through these techniques, about which areas are preferred by the deer and how far their range of movement extends.
In addition, the team is now employing a dual release system in order to establish whether survival rates are affected by first releasing captive-born animals into an acclimatization area. Now, some of the animals are released in stages via the acclimatization area, and others are released directly into the wild. The results of which method is more successful will be known in the future.
Another very interesting area of study related to this program is how the reintroduction of Persian Fallow Deer into this habitat may affect aspects of the surrounding ecosystem. It has already been established, by monitoring the camera traps, that many other species of fauna are also benefiting from the Persian Fallow Deer's protected nature reserve: species like jackals, wolves, wild boar and porcupines are now regularly showing up on captured images.
Thank you all so much for being a part of this inspiring conservatio project - stay tuned for more news in the future!
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo Team
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