A bill under review in the Israeli legislature would ban hunting on all animals in the country. The only exceptions allowed would be for animals causing damage to the environment, and those that are a threat to people. The bill would also prohibit poisoning animals and selling animal furs.
There are only about 2,000 hunters with proper licenses in Israel currently, and those numbers are down from about 6,000 several years ago. If passed into law, the practice of hunting would be eliminated altogether. About 51,000 species live in Israel. There are close to 3,000 native plant species, along with 116 mammals, 511 bird species and 97 reptile species. (Source: Wikipedia) Every spring and fall 500 million birds migrate through Israel.
Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel said, “We praise the advancement of the bill, which includes banning sport hunting in Israel. Development pressures already do a lot of damage to nature and therefore there isn’t room anymore for sport hunting. There is a unique and rich biodiversity in Israel and it is our responsibility to protect it rather than damage it through unnecessary activities.” (Source: Jpost.com)
The have been working for decades to preserve Israel’s biodiversity and natural heritage. A hunting ban could be a great relief to their wildlife, especially considering there are also a number of contaminated areas they have to contend with according to a recent government report, “As of 2008, some 1,195 contaminated sites were identified in Israel. The largest number of contaminated sites (316) was discovered in the Tel Aviv region as a result of numerous industrial plants and military and industrial workshops. Their activities were responsible for land contamination and large-scale groundwater pollution throughout the Tel Aviv metropolitan area (Gush Dan).” (Source: Jpost.com)
Because of their hot, dry climate Israel has become adept in managing dryland agriculture. They have also restored some forested areas in order to keep them from becoming desert. So they may be moving towards restoration of their native species as well. (Photos of some Israeli mammals, and native wildlife.)
Image Credit: Eyal Bartov