When the Gazelles fight back
This is the story of how 17 gazelles stopped a multi-million real-estate development from taking over one of the last natural parks in Jerusalem. The story begins with a few developers, who, with the support of the Jerusalem Municipality, decided to extend one of Jerusalem’s main freeways and build a residential and commercial complex in Pri Har Valley, a 64-acre park in the heart of Jerusalem.
The developers would have gone through with their plans, were it not for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), who knew this plan would endanger local wildlife – namely, the 17 gazelles who inhabit this special park.
Shachar is a park ranger who volunteers with the SPNI. He recounts that together with local activists, they went to court to protect the gazelles and to save the park. “The SPNI went through many court battles, and not only did we win, but the Jerusalem Municipality has also drawn up plans to turn the area into a recognized public park and nature reserve, and has provided most of the funding to do so.”
Next time you’re in the area, take a break from the city hustle and come enjoy the natural beauty of Pri Har Valley: take photos of the gazelles and take the time to plant a carob tree. Why carob? “The Carob tree takes many years to grow and bear fruit, and we are planning for this park to stay here for many years to come, and for our grandchildren to enjoy it into the future.”