Once common, animals and porcupines like this one are now becoming rare in Israel as development surges, and open spaces diminish.
Israel’s birds and other wildlife are threatened with extinction due to over development of the country’s open spaces, according to an article in Haaretz. According to a new study on Israel’s nature situation, it was found that almost 60 percent of mammals in the country are at risk of extinction, with over 80 percent of amphibians facing a similar threat. In addition, of the 206 species of birds that nest in Israel, over 20 percent are also in danger of extinction.
Mongooses also have a tough go now
This revelation is nothing new to anyone living in the country, especially in the country’s central region, where increasing development and urbanization is destroying wildlife habitats at an alarming rate. Nature reserves in many areas are being limited to small areas of only few square kilometers each, making it more difficult for wild animals to live in.
Although 30% of Israel’s land area is considered to be “open space” (including 250 nature reserves and 76 national parks) most of this available land is in the country’s southern regions, which are either arid and even desert locations or areas used by the military to hold practice maneuvers in.
Just a few of the country’s mammals facing extinction include desert ibex’s, leopards, hyenas, wolves and jackals. Even mammals and birds that were once commonplace near populated areas, such as hares, chucker partridges, and mongooses, are now becoming a rarity.
Chucker Partridges lived even in cities
The recent wildfires on the Carmel mountain range were devastating to many wild animals, especially wild boars, porcupines, deer, hares, and countless numbers of smaller creatures like mice and other rodents, reptiles and the like.
The one bright spot appears to be the country’s forests and nature reserves, which enjoy a high degree of protection. According to Haaretz, in the last two years more than 20 new national parks and nature reserves have been officially proposed.
Israel isn’t the only Mid East country where wildlife is at risk. Lebanon has had a problem dealing with wildlife and other environmental issues for years. And recent news of massive shark slaughtering in the Arabian Gulf off Dubai to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup in the Far East is nothing short of horrific.
In small countries like Israel and Lebanon, available land areas for wildlife are having to compete with the increasing demand for housing and other real estate developments. As more and more wildlife species are being consigned to the endangered species list, including all of Africa’s lion population (now estimated to be no more than 23 to 30 thousand), wildlife populations all over the world are heading for an uncertain future.
Read more on regional animals and development issues:
Worst Wildfire in Israel’s Modern History Continues to Rage out of Control
Persian Gulf “Mermaids” face Manmade environmental Threats
Lebanon Environment Inaction May Affect Entire Region
Helping Turkish Wildlife Cross the Roads
Dubai Marine Life at Risk after Devastating Shark Catch