Israel’s gazelles are at serious risk of extinction.
The graceful animals population has declined steeply in recent years across the country, according to a warning from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
In the last 15 years alone, 70 percent of the gazelle population has dwindled, leaving the species — which is unique to Israel with the exception of a few hundred heads living in Turkey — at risk of being extinct worldwide.
The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel stressed that human development of the country as well as poor sanitation are to blame for the gazelle’s move to the endangered list.
Moreover, the group said, it is only human action that can ultimately save the iconic animals from being wiped off the planet for good.
“The damage to the gazelle population stems from the chopping up of their habitats due to construction, paving of roads and erection of fences,” the SPNI noted.
The group added, “They are also impacted by increased predation due to poor sanitation that facilitates growth in the number of predators and feral dogs.”
According to the SPNI, the drastic decline in the gazelle population emphasizes the need for open areas and ecological corridors as well as a cap on unnecessary development that destroys wildlife’s habitats.
One Jerusalem resident said that if curbing development is what it takes, that is what the Israeli people must do.
“Everyone in Israel can act to prevent the extinction of this and other species and take part in a national effort to overcome the wave of extinctions that threatens the globe,” Rachel Adams, an advocate for keep green spaces green, said, “It’s frightening to think that this iconic animal will soon disappear.”