The Jewish New Year began with new life and the addition of a fawn to Israel’s community of endemic, critically endangered, acacia gazelles.
Only 30 to 40 of these gazelles — which are found only in Israel — remain. Most live in a closed area of the Yotvata Hai-Bar Reserve in the southern Arava desert where they can be protected and left to breed.
They are counted twice a year and checked for health problems. Rangers discovered the new fawn by chance, rather than as part of an official tallying.
The acacia gazelle is a subspecies of the more common mountain gazelle, 3,100 of which are estimated to be left in Israel. Herds are also located in Jordan and Turkey. Less than 3,000 in total are thought to still live in the wild.
Dr. David Mallon, a British zoologist and antelope expert, recommended four years ago that this gazelle’s status on the environmental organization’s Red List be upgraded from “vulnerable” to “endangered.”
As is the case with most of Israel’s flora and fauna, the antelope population’s decline stems largely from the reduction of their habitats due to construction, paving of roads and erection of fences.