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