Israeli wildlife in danger; how to maintain biological diversity

Thursday, March 3 marks World Wildlife Day and we pay tribute by checking which animals are considered endangered species in Israel and assessing what we can do to protect them.

“When it comes to invertebrates, it is difficult to determine their population status, but we know of a few species of butterflies that are endangered, such as the Cigaritis cilissa butterfly,” said Dotan Rotem, open space ecologist. at Israel Nature and Parks. Authority. According to Rotem, this species still thrives in the Upper Galilee region, but struggles in the Sharon, Hadera and Caesara regions.

“We only know of a few places where populations of this species still exist. It’s a very special butterfly, living with ants,” Rotem said.

Another special insect that until recently was thought to be extinct is called the mole cricket, a species that lives only in Israel and is native to the Dead Sea region. For years this type of locust was not seen anywhere, and recently distinct sounds were heard at a nature reserve that tell us the species exists there, the conservationist said.

Rotem explained that we are in an era of significant decline in biological diversity, especially among insects. “It’s a long-term effect of using pesticides and fertilizers,” he said.

The Be’er Sheva fringe-toed lizard is also an endangered species native to Israel. This lizard mainly resides in the sands of the northern Negev. Rotem said the species is endangered because its habitats are becoming scarce as the ecological balance of the region changes due to tree-planting projects in the South.

The decline of viable habitats for otters in Israel makes them extremely threatened. Predictions say that only a few dozen otters still live in Israel, and its presence is essential to the ecological system and its biological diversity.

Another animal that has almost completely disappeared from Israel is the Acacia gazelle. with only 31 found last October.

As for the griffon vulture – “We are in a movement from top to bottom, especially from the bottom of the scale, of the population of vultures in Israel, and it is difficult to stabilize them because there is a problem of electrocution and poison “, explain the environmentalists. The vultures largely feed on carcasses, many of which die from the poison in Israel, which is also deadly to vultures.

According to Rotem, the more stable biological diversity is, the more it can survive climate change. “Today we talk a lot about connectivity, ecological corridors – we are here to say that it is important to look at the whole space in which animals live and can move from place to place. another. It is also important for climate change. It is important to create a network of passages between protected areas – nature reserves and forests”, h

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