Israel’s population of endangered Palestine mountain gazelles has increased by two, following the birth of fawns at Jerusalem’s gazelle valley park.
Visitors to the urban nature reserve, which is bounded by several major roads, were asked to vote on names. They chose Ruby for one of the newcomers, after the nickname of President Reuven Rivlin, and Pesach for the other, in honor of the just-ended Passover festival.
The 64-acre reserve — roughly the size of Jerusalem’s Old City — was opened in 2015 after a 15-year battle by residents and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel to protect the former kibbutz orchard from real estate development.
It inherited a small herd of gazelles, described by Israeli wildlife champion Amir Balaban as the biblical gazelle mentioned in Psalms and the Song of Songs.
פסח ורובי!אלו שמות העופרים החדשים. כן כן, שמעתם נכון, גם יוהנה המליטה, שם העופר שלה רובי, ושם העופר של חסה הוא פסח.מזל טוב לצבאים הצעירים, ומזל טוב לעמק לרגל יום ההולדת השלישי.
In 2015, the British zoologist who serves as the antelope expert for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, told the Guardian that there were currently fewer than 2,000 known individuals of the species.
David Mallon recommended updating the gazelle’s status on the environmental organization’s Red List from “vulnerable” to “endangered” — a recommendation that was accepted.
The open site, free to enter all year round, is near the busy Pat intersection in southern Jerusalem.
In a Facebook post, the park showed pictures of visitors choosing names for the new fawns. One of them read “Donald.”