Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land

by The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land
Credit: Amy Katz
Credit: Amy Katz

One of the exciting aspects of this conservation project is the ongoing participation of local communities in our efforts.

Residents of nearby towns and visitors to the national parks share with us fallow deer observations thus supporting our efforts and contributing to our data.

Community outreach and public awareness is an important part of long-term education that contributes to the success of the project.

A number of camera traps, contributed by the Segre Fondation, are set up in a radius around our release site in the Jerusalem hills and together with photographs sent to us, we use the data to discover more information about deer activity in the area - or lack of activity, which can also inform us about deer moving out in to new areas

This past year there was a very significant decrease in male photo events from our cameras. This is in contrast with deer encounters reported by hikers and nearby residents – over 90% of photos we receive from these sources are of males.

This could be partially explained by the fact that males are known to roam and cover more ground, thus reaching major trails, roads and villages, while females tend to stay hidden and cover less ground (all camera traps are located within natural areas, covered by dense vegetation and hidden from humans).

There is a very significant increase in total female photo events. This could be an encouraging sign of a relative high survival rates of females and of a relatively high breeding potential of the population.

Two photographs taken by a hiker (who used to work at the Jerusalem Zoo) made waves on social media and were even shared by the State of Israel's official twitter account. Such publicity serves to expose an even larger public to the importance of conservation and environmental issues in the country.

Stay safe and well, 

Rachael and the Deer Team

Credit: Amy Katz
Credit: Amy Katz
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At the end of Februaty, seven Persian Fallow deer from the breeding core at the Zoo were released into the wild at the Nahal Sorek Nature Reserve in the Jerusalem Hills.

These four males and three females will join the nine deer released last year and we hope to be able to release another group next year.

Uzi Shamir, who heads up the Zoo's native conservation projects, reports that the deer are curently being held in an acclimatization enclosure at the release site, which is checked daily, and all are doing well. 

Next week, the gates to the enclosure will be opened and the deer will be free to go into the wild. This process usually takes a few days. 

The project is in partnership with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority 

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Photo Credit: Ya'ara(Forest) Tamari
Photo Credit: Ya'ara(Forest) Tamari

The Deer Team, assisted by the Zoo maintenance staff and employees of the Nature and Parks Authority have recently finished the rehabilitation of the acclimatization facility in Nahal Soreq. The facility was partially destroyed by floods last year.

Unfortunately, the bodies of two female deer in the Jerusalem Hills have been discovered over the past weeks, in separate incidents. This was sad news for the team and the project. Their corpses will be transferred to the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Beit Dagan, Israel's only veterinary hospital to undergo autopsies to discover the cause of death.

The corpses were found whole, meaning that traffic accidents or animal attack can be ruled out. Options to be explored will be disease or poisoning. We will update you in our next report, when we have more details.

 

 

 

Wishing you a healthy winter, 

Rachael and the Deer Team

 

Working on the facility
Working on the facility
The new water trough
The new water trough
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Studying the Deer
Studying the Deer

The Tisch Family Zoo runs a High School Graduation Program (Bagrut) that allows highly gifted children from the 11th grade to participate in a sought-after and elite academic course presented at the Zoo and approved by the Ministry of Education as a high school graduation credit. The program attracts students who are interested in furthering their scientific research skills, as well as those who are interested in ecology and wildlife conservation.

We are pleased to report that this year's graduating class included a student who did his final report on " Mammal Population Survey in Nahal Soreq Nature Reserve with an emphasis on Persian Fallow Deer." The supervisor for the project was our head of the Deer Conservation Project, Uzi Shamir.

The best news is that Michael, who is also a volunteer at the Zoo, received a perfect grade of 100 for his report! Congratulations!

The Zoo Bagrut program was established 10 years ago and it has become known as a unique education project that utilizes the Zoo as an educational tool for the promotion of nature conservation values and the pursuit of scientific excellence. Students from over 20 different and diverse high school institutions have participated in the program. As a result of its success, the program has become a model for other Jerusalem education programs in different fields.

Links:

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Forest camera capture
Forest camera capture

Greetings from Jerusalem!

In the past months, we have analysed the trail camera data from the "hot-spots" in the nature reserves and have been encouraged to see, for the first time in the project, evidence of at least two unmarked females with fawns.

This means that we now have a third generation in the wild. This is very exciting news and shows the ongoing success of the project.

We have recorded at least 25 separate sightings of fawns photographed by five different cameras at five different locations. In addition to the offspring of the unmarked females mentioned above, we have also identified another four fawns.

During the upcoming year, we plan to continue the tracking of the population, with attention shifting to trail-cameras and GPS technology. GPS collars will be key to accurate data collection and planning for the next stage of this project.

This coming winter, we plan to release a further seven females into the wild .

Thank you for being part of this important project. Your contributions make you partners in this success!

Rachael and the Fallow Deer conservation team

Forest camera capture 2
Forest camera capture 2
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Organization Information

The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem

Location: Jerusalem, Israel - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @BiblicalZoo
Project Leader:
Nicole Wexler
Jerusalem, Israel
$15,775 raised of $20,000 goal
 
171 donations
$4,225 to go
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