Ibex (“Yael”) Patrol

Mitzpe Ramon is an isolated urban settlement, completely surrounded by the natural, untamed desert. The town is adjacent to the Ramon Nature Reserve, in which a herd of about 200 Ibex roams free, while approaching and entering the urban area on a daily basis.

The herd often consumes food from human sources – gardens, garbage and feeding by tourists. Worse – Ibex also chew and swallow plastic bags, wipes, food wrappings, carton and paper, all which they mistake for food.

Photography: Adam De-Langa

All these materials, which they cannot digest, accumulate in Ibex’ stomachs, resulting in ailments and deaths. Several of these wild Ibexs, that have been evacuated by Nature Reserve Rangers to veterinary care, were operated upon and kilograms of garbage were removed from their stomachs. In most cases, they did not survive.

In 2015, Keshet created the Ibex Patrol to address this situation on several levels: information, education, prevention and sanitation.

Our goals are:

  • Reducing ailment and deaths in the herd by limiting their access to garbage
  • Encouraging the placing of garbage in closed bins.
  • Enhancing awareness to the problem among tourists and residents.
  • Engaging the populace in cleanup activities and advocacy.
  • Providing clean drinking water and fodder at designated areas.

The project includes instructional seminars for all fifth-graders in Mitzpe Ramon’s schools and recruiting ‘Young Rangers’ from among them to the Ibex Patrol. The young Patrol volunteers give instruction about the protection of nature, and share information among inhabitants, tourists and hikers at locations prone to feeding of Ibex.

Dozens of guidance notice boards – discouraging feeding – have been placed along the Crater promenade, and similar stickers have been stuck on garbage bins.

Photography: Ezry Keydar

In addition, the project seeks to establish a clean water source, on the Ramon crater rim, as part of the JNF promenade.

This will allow to proactively create grazing of natural local vegetation, as a natural substitute for human waste consumption by the Ibex.

Basin visualization, courtesy of Happy World Architecture Architects

Our partners in this project are

  • The Nature Reserve and National Parks Authority
  • The Society for the Protection of Nature (Negev Highlands Field School)
  • Mitzpe Ramon Youth Center
  • Mitzpe Ramon Municipal Council
  • The Dead Sea Drainage Authority
  • McCann Valley Inc.

In 2016, the project was sponsored by Asif Mitzpe.

It is currently managed by the environmental unit of the Municipal Council together with Bateva Ltd.

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