Animals  Israel Project #17063

Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land

by The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem Vetted since 2013 Site Visit Verified


The Persian Fallow Deer (Dama dama mesopotamica) is one of the kosher animals mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:4-5. Thought to be extinct by the 1940's, a small population of this species was rediscovered in Iran in 1956. They are nearly extinct in the wild today, inhabiting only three small habitats in Iran and two areas in Israel where they have been successfully reintroduced since 1996. This conservation program focuses on their reintroduction into the wild at Nahal Soreq near Jerusalem, Israel.

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This species formerly occurred in 8 countries across the Middle East but now inhabits only a few small areas in Iran and Israel. Due to the rarity of this species (less than 1000 individuals left in the world), little information exists on their behavior and social structure in the wild; therefore, there is a great need for continued research to gain a better understanding of their natural behaviors and characteristics; and to provide more reliable ecological data for reintroduction planning.


This conservation program will establish a stable wild population of Persian Fallow Deer in the south of Israel (a stable wild population already exists in the north). Continued research will be conducted to gain a better understanding of this rare species. Wide-ranging and varied education initiatives will be aimed at engaging the local community to increase awareness of critical behaviors required at the local level for the conservation of the Persian Fallow Deer and its habitat.

Long-Term Impact

A long-term conservation program aimed at re-establishing this historically significant species in the wild and impacting other local species through habitat preservation and improved community attitudes. Community education programs will highlight biodiversity issues and the importance of balancing the needs and economic development of human beings with natural ecosystems. Scientific research will shed light on the natural behaviors and social structure of this little-known species.


Persian Fallow Deer Conservation Program
Wall Street Journal Article
Jewish Journal Article
Israeli TV documentary (English sub-titles)

Organization Information

The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem

Location: Jerusalem, Israel - Israel
Website: http:/​/​​
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Nicole Wexler
Jerusalem, Israel
$9,045 raised of $20,000 goal
107 donations
$10,955 to go
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