Recently, the IDF received intel that a number of gazelles were being held captive under harsh conditions.
So they planned a rescue mission to get the endangered deer the help they needed.
The animals were being held in a Palestinian village in Judea in a sub-standard environment. According to the IDF sergeant in charge of the operation, going in to save the animals was the right thing to do and another way to serve and protect Israel.
“I felt that I was lending a hand to save the wild animals in Israel,” Sergeant Nissim Shamir said.
He added, “The fact that I was given the opportunity to conduct this meaningful operation in the military framework revealed to me an additional new side to my (military) service.”
The gazelles were taken into the custody of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority where they will be cared for until they can safely be released to nature reserves to live out their rest of their lives.
The post-Rosh Hashanah mission is the second mission in a month to rescue captive gazelles, and a sign Israel is taking the need to protect the endangered species seriously.
Earlier this month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature warned that the gazelle population in Israel has declined by 70 percent in just the last 15 years, leaving the iconic Israeli animals at risk of extinction.
In response, Israel’s Nature Authority has called on the Knesset to crack down on the illegal hunting of the animals and to provide a safeguard for the 2000 or so remaining deer so they can live and reproduce freely in the region, hoping bringing the numbers back up closer to the 10,000 gazelles that roamed freely in Israel at the beginning of the last decade.