Record number of animals injured as parks teem with visitors after lockdown
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Record number of animals injured as parks teem with visitors after lockdown

Wildlife hospital says 700 creatures now under its care due to people’s carelessness upon their return to nature reserves

Illustrative -- An injured Imperial Eagle at the veterinary hospital at the safari park in Ramat Gan, March 3, 2013 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Illustrative -- An injured Imperial Eagle at the veterinary hospital at the safari park in Ramat Gan, March 3, 2013 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israelis have been flocking and galloping to parks and nature reserves after weeks at home during lockdown, and although getting out into fresh air may be good for the health of humans, their feathered, furred and scaled friends in the wild aren’t faring quite as well.

In the 15 years since it was founded, the Nature and Parks Authority Wildlife Hospital at the Ramat Gan Safari Park has only ever had up to 450 animals under its care, but since Israelis were allowed to start to visit parks and nature reserves again, that figure has rocketed to around 700, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.

According to the report, medics at the facility believe the majority of the animals were injured through people being careless in the parks. It also noted, however, that the increase in number of visitors to nature reserves meant that a larger number of animals were being brought into the hospital for care.

“We work 24/7 to deal with the animals that are brought in for treatment,” said Dr. Yigal Horowitz, the head of the wildlife hospital. “It is intense, and without the dozens of volunteers, the team would not stand the pressure.”

The past few days have seen tens of thousands of people go to nature reserves, parks and beaches to enjoy the pleasant weather as they increasingly emerge from months of lockdown. Israel Nature and Parks Authority sites were shuttered for weeks because of the pandemic but were allowed to reopen earlier this month.

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