It’s holiday time, joked Prof. David Eilam. He and the head of Tel Aviv University’s Zoology Department Prof. Micha Ilan escorted me around Tel Aviv’s City Safari on foot today.
It was dinner time for three wolves who were carrying around butchered turkeys, rescued apparently, from the garbage.
According to Eilam, animals that die on route to the slaughterhouse are not deemed kosher.
They are given to the university’s zoo, and make “recycled” feed for the animals.
Open to the public (you need to call in advance), the staff at the zoo can give an interesting and environmental perspective on animal conservation in Israel and the Middle East.
Beside one of the nation’s busiest highways and next door to the country’s 2nd largest city is a six-acre zoo, home to jackals, fat sand rats, a pack of wolves, pink flamingos and more.
It is one of two university zoos existing in the world –– the other one is in Germany.
Upon entering the zoo you get the laid-back feeling of being in a Kibbutz (Israel’s version of a commune). With a phone call and a small fee of about $5 you can get a tour of Israel’s indigenous animals as they roam freely around the zoo.
Some animals like the snakes, birds and mongooses (which sneak in) come and go as they please.
A nature lover and teacher in Tel Aviv built the zoo 70 years ago. Back then its mandate was to be able to educate future generations on the importance of nature conservation. Today, the University attracts and sponsors youths from Israel’s marginalized communities to spend a day at the zoo.
You too can Safari in the middle of the city.