MembersSafari in the Holy Land

The animal world in Israel is extremely diverse, just like the geography of this small but beautiful land.

By Israel Today Staff |

From the cool forests and mountains in the north to the sizzling deserts in the South, the varying climate and landscape create natural habitats for all kinds of flora and fauna, birds and beasts.

Since Israel lies at the crossroads of continents, it is home to some of the most magnificent bird migrations in the world, twice a year, as the winged creatures fly south to Africa for the winter and north to Europe for the summer. Some 550 species of birds have been observed here.

The Bible and other sources tell of animals which have lived in this strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River until the middle of the 20th century: Syrian brown bears, cheetahs and Arabian gazelles, while Caucasian deer and Asian lions died out a few centuries earlier. The northeastern Nile crocodile disappeared over 200 years ago.

But hundreds of other exotic creatures have survived the ravages of time and modernization. Some leopards still roam the rugged Judean Desert between Jerusalem and the...

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