Israel is a haven of biodiversity in the Middle East, with active wildlife protection campaigns to protect the indigenous creatures of this astonishing country.
As Israel has developed over the past 70 years, the growth of population centers and transportation networks has put pressure on the country’s environment and its non-human species. Ecological concerns are paramount, and many organizations in Israel dedicated to wildlife preservation. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Israel’s natural resources, environment, natural assets and unique landscape for over 60 years. Shatour is proud to be their tourism partner, organizing the Friends of SPNI’s Israel Ecology & Nature Tours.
Israel is home to 104 different species of mammals, including many different types of bats. Due to climate change and the growing needs of its human population, the country’s unique wildlife is under threat. Fifty-seven species are endangered and 9% of our mammal species are extinct. The SPNI works to save, protect and reintroduce endangered species back into their native habitats. They have projects to campaign for the protection of otters, to reintroduce Persian fallow deer back to the Galilee and around Jerusalem, and to research the country’s endangered bat population.
Israel has 65 National Parks where wild plant and animal species are protected. They feature an amazingly diverse range of natural environments, from the Hula Valley wetlands to the coral reefs of Eilat and the desert oasis of Ein Gedi. Each is a carefully curated sanctuary for hundreds of varieties of plants and animals, but each is also open to the public to visit and enjoy.
Israel is on the migration route for 500 bird species that fly from Europe and West Asia to Africa in the winter, and back again in the spring. They are encouraged to stop and feed in the nature reserves. In the Hula Valley, farmers put out food for the tens of thousands of cranes that migrate from Finland to Ethiopia every winter, and there are major bird-watching centers at Lake Hula and in Ein Gedi and Sde Boker. The Jerusalem Birdwatching Observatory runs a bird ringing program to help monitor the country’s winged visitors, where you can learn about the unique and endangered birds that cross Israel’s skies every year.
Israel has a number of world-leading zoos and safari parks that prioritize animal welfare and the breeding of endangered species. For example, 29 endangered white rhinos have been born in the Ramat Gan Safari, and the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo runs wildlife conservation programs for many different local and international species, as an affiliate of the European Endangered Species Program. For example, the National Center for Raptor Egg Incubation at the Biblical Zoo is helping to save four different species of vultures that are under threat of extinction. The Jerusalem Aquarium is dedicated to the conservation of Israel’s marine habitats – a major conservation challenge in Israel.
All over Israel you can find amazing wildlife preservation projects. In the North, the Yodfat Monkey Reserve is a 10-acre nature reserve for rescued monkeys, and there is also a donkey rescue farm and sanctuary for animals with disabilities. On the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center protects the nesting sites of endangered green turtles. In the South, the Yotvata Hai Bar Nature Reserve specializes in reintroducing endangered and locally extinct species, helping them to re-acclimate to their natural environment.
If you love animals and nature, Israel is the best place on the planet to see the maximum biodiversity in the smallest area! Talk to Shatour Israel about including wildlife protection centers in your tour of Israel, or join one of our Environmental Tours.