Contributors to this thread:
I'm currently in Israel visiting my brother who is living here for a while. We were sightseeing around the Dead Sea and Masada today and I ran into these guys moving along the base of Masada. Two males (rams?) and four females in a group. The males seemed like they were rutting; they at least followed the females around with their necks stretched out and sniffing like a whitetail buck in November. I just thought some of you goat and sheep guys might enjoy seeing these. Their camouflage is exceptional! We would never have seen them if they had not been moving. Also if anyone knows how to field judge ibex, I'd be curious as to how big the bigger ram is. Thanks!
Here's a shot with four of them that show how well they blend in.
Not my picture and I can't make it go away. Here's the smaller one.
They were at the base if this mountain (Masada- which means something if you know your Roman/Jewish history). We went up to the top by cable car and I saw goat looking droppings on top so apparently they venture from top to bottom of this stuff. It's pretty rough country too. It was 100 degrees Fahrenheit with virtually no wind today and the ibex are walking around in direct sunlight and seem not the least bit phased. The only water visible for miles is the Dead Sea and that is totally undrinkable. These ibex are also actually under sea level. Tough, short-legged little desert dwellers they are.
Another terrain shot a couple miles from there with a date farm at the base of the mountain.
Off the back of Masada. Makes you think of the Grand Canyon.
Off the front side towards the Dead Sea.
One more dry, hot, and steep picture. I was just pretty excited at seeing ibex in the wild and thought some of you all might be interested in seeing them too. Amazing animals for sure; thriving where every human in sight is guzzling bottled water and trying to stay in the air conditioning. Thanks for looking!
I'd say 26-28" on the big one. That's if they're the same body size as the Persian Ibex I've hunted before.
Great pictures! Thanks for sharing.
Great photos! I lived in Israel for the three years and always loved going down to the Dead Sea. Saw lots of Ibex near Masada and over at Ein Gedi. There is a species of fallow deer in Israel and a couple types of Gazelle.
For such a small, rather densely populated country there is a surprising variety of wildlife.
If you get the chance to spend some time in the Old City of Jerusalem go to #24 Christian Quarter Rd. and ask for Zak. He's an antiquities dealer. Great guy and has the some of the coolest stuff you'll ever see.
Have a good trip!
Thanks for looking guys! Hey ben yehuda I might get the chance to look him up. I'm staying in the Old City in the Christian Quarter with my brother and his wife, so he should be close by. Thanks for the heads up!
That picture doesn't so much make me think of the Grand Canyon, as dying of thirst. Can you imagine trying to scratch an existence out of such terrain. It is truly amazing to see wildlife roaming freely and it challenges one to think about the basics of life
Great photos! Israel did a good job of reintroducing their wildlife, think there are even a few arabian leopards in country. Don't think there is any hunting allowed though?
Seeing these pics made get a little homesick for Israel, so I thought I'd dig up a couple photos I took a few years back.
While I was there I fella at the Parks department said they did have a small leopard population and even a few wolves in the Beit Shean area. I was amazed.
The story of how they reintroduced Persian fallow deer, acquired from Iran in the last days before the Islamic revolution, is crazy.
Thanks ben yehuda. I remember reading about that a long time ago. Isn't that the only population of Persian fallow deer outside of Iran? I would love to see if there are any studies on those wolves, I believe there was recently some work on the jackels in Egypt and the wolf subspecies in the levant. Is there any hunting in Israel?
As far as I know yes, Israel and Iran are the only places where Persian fallow deer currently exist. They have been gone for most of their historic range for a long time.
The wolves in Israel are Arabian wolves. I think they also have some down in the Negev desert. I never saw any while there, but I did see a jackel a couple of times.
I think hunting in Israel is gradually being eliminated (at least legal hunting). They have a serious problem with poachers, though. Certain segments of the population there have zero respect for wildlife conservation efforts or the law, apparently.
The last time I looked into it there was some amount of hog hunting; hogs are neither kosher nor halal and they damage crops, so the public is not to interested in 'protecting' them, so hunting is allowed.
Israel is a little different than here in that it has such a long history of fairly high levels of human population, is small, and many of their animals have been locally extinct for a long time. In some cases centuries. Reintroduction must be pretty tough.
However, the Parks Authority is attempting to reintroduce a number of species, with the help of the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, and they have a couple of nice conservation areas (near Carmel in the north and one down in the Arava on the way to Red Sea). The fallow deer and the wild ass are two of the species that have been successfully reintroduced.
It's an amazing place.
Good Lord, I don't know how anything can live there....amazing!
thanks, I want to hunt them in the worse way