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Israeli Scientists Breathe New Life Into Extinct Species

Israeli scientists have breathed new life into rare species of animals that once were nearly extinct in the region. They now roam the land.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 1/3/2011, 7:42 PM / Last Update: 1/3/2011, 8:52 PM

Israeli scientists say they have succeeded in breathing new life into rare species of animals that once were nearly extinct in the region.

According to Professor David Saltz of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a two-decades-long project to reintroduce Israel's ancient wildlife has been a profound success.

Data on the project presented last week at a conference held by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority showed rare species indeed are starting to flourish as in times of old.

Scientists have dedicated their efforts towards raising Mesopotamian (Persian) fallow deer, oxen, eagles, onager and Arabian oryx.

Wild oxen now wander the Arava, according to Saltz, and some 200 onager now roam the Negev. A like number of fallow deer make their home in the Achziv region of Galilee, and 100 eagles raised in captivity have now been released to the wild as well.

The project, which is ongoing, is based in two protected nature reserves. One is located in the extreme southern end of the Negev desert (Chai Bar South Yotvata).

The other, (Chai Bar Carmel) is located along the northern coastal region, at the top of Mount Carmel just outside Haifa, where a wildfire recently stripped the land of its forest. Volunteers and project workers who worked tirelessly to rescue the animals as the inferno raged miraculously succeeded in saving every single one.