Animals
 Israel
Project #17063

Bringing Biblical Deer to the Holy Land

by The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem
Vetted
A wild-born fawn is spotted near Jerusalem!
A wild-born fawn is spotted near Jerusalem!

With almost 150 deer having been released into the Nahal Soreq area near Jerusalem in recent years, and upwards of 50 deer surviving in the wild today, this wildlife conservation program has seen its share of challenges and successes.

Our staff members track and monitor the released deer in various ways – including radio telemetry tracking collars, GPS tracking collars and camera traps. This month we received an exciting report from Israel Nature and Parks Authority rangers who spotted and photographed a wild-born fawn.

Every piece of evidence that this rare species is reproducing and surviving in the wild is a source of great encouragement for our team and we are delighted to share this news with you – our generous supporters – who help make these wildlife conservation efforts possible.

 Thank you for being a part of this project– we appreciate your generosity and support!

With warm wishes from -

Team Fallow Deer at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

Links:

We recently compiled our annual report for 2015 regarding the status of this important and challenging wildlife conservation project and we are delighted to share with you that in 2015:

-        14 Persian fallow deer individuals were released into the wild at the Nahal Soreq Nature Reserve south of Jerusalem.

-        This number included 2 females equipped with state of the art GPS tracking collars to enable more accurate monitoring in the wild.

-        In addition, 15 fawns have been born in the Biblelands Wildlife Preserve exhibit at the Zoo.

-        We were delighted to receive a video filmed by a member of the public in the Tzur Hadassah neighborhood which shows an adult male Persian fallow deer in the wild. We have been breeding and releasing deer in the Jerusalem hills for some years now. We estimate that, as a result of this conservation program, there are now upwards of 50 deer roaming the hills of Jerusalem. This video is significant because the deer is not wearing a tracking collar which means that he was born in the wild and has survived for at least three years!

-        We also hosted Israel’s first National Persian Fallow Deer Conference at the Zoo where experts from all over Israel came together to discuss strategies for the future of this successful wildlife conservation program which has brought a Biblical species, previously thought to be extinct, back to the wild in Israel.

Thank you for being a part of this effort – we appreciate your generosity and support!

With warm wishes from -

Team Fallow Deer at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

 

Links:

A released deer wearing a GPS tracking collar
A released deer wearing a GPS tracking collar

We are happy to report that a few weeks ago the first national conference was conducted at the Jerusalem Zoo regarding the Persian fallow deer reintroduction project. In consultation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and other wildlife conservation organizations in Israel, it was decided to continue with the reintroduction project in spite of the recent loss of some deer in the wild as a result of suspected attacks by feral dogs.

Unrelated to that incident, one deer was hit by a car while crossing a road but the motorist immediately informed us and our team were able to respond quickly and rescue the injured deer. She is now recovering here at the Zoo.

As these animals acclimatize to the ecosystem, the local community also has to adjust to changes in the landscape. This is why our continued outreach and education efforts with our local communities are so important and why the motorist that collided with the deer had knowledge of this conservation effort and so knew who to call for assistance.

These challenges are part of every wildlife conservation program and we thank our loyal supporters for sharing the ups and downs with us over the long term.

We invite you to watch our video segment below which shows how our keepers track and monitor deer released into the wild. 

With warm wishes for a happy and healthy 2016!

Team Fallow Deer at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

Links:

Awaiting release from the acclimatization area
Awaiting release from the acclimatization area

Dear Persian Fallow Deer Supporters,

After having been so excited by our latest release of 8 deer from the acclimatization center into the wild (following a resolution of the technical problems we had with the GPS tracking collars), we were devastated to once more discover that 5 deer had died relatively soon after having been released. Initial indications are that packs of feral dogs are once again hunting the deer. 

You may recall that some years ago, this conservation program was halted because of a high mortality rate due to feral dogs in the area. Feral dogs are domesticated stray dogs who, after abandonment, group together and revert to pack behavior. They can be extremely dangerous both in terms of attacks on animals and humans, and because they can spread disease. The program was resumed once the Ministry of Environment gave Israel Nature and Parks Authority rangers the power to destroy feral dogs on sight however it appears that the problem has once again resurfaced in the Jerusalem hills. 

In light of this, further releases have been halted for now until we can investigate further in conjunction with the Israeli authorities. We will keep you posted. Wildlife conservation is a challenging pursuit but, with your support, we have high hopes for continued success.

With thanks and appreciation,

Team Fallow Deer at the Jerusalem Zoo

Remains of a deer hunted by feral dogs
Remains of a deer hunted by feral dogs
GPS tracking map of released deer
GPS tracking map of released deer
Baby Persian Fallow Deer
Baby Persian Fallow Deer

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

Releasing a deer in May 2015
Releasing a deer in May 2015
Camera trap images of a released male
Camera trap images of a released male

Links:

 

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Organization Information

The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem

Location: Jerusalem, Israel - Israel
Website: http:/​/​www.jerusalemzoo.org/​
Project Leader:
Nicole Wexler
Jerusalem, Israel
$4,702 raised of $10,000 goal
 
 
59 donations
$5,298 to go
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