Wildlife of Palestine

Some interesting sites on wildlife in Palestine which deserve support.

The Palestine Wildlife Society is an active, professional, Non-Profit Organization whose scope of work covers the West Bank and Gaza with a multidimensional mission aiming at the conservation and enhancement of the biodiversity and wildlife in Palestine. Visit

Around 2.0 billion birds migrate annually between Africa, Europe and Asia (Cherrington, 2000). These birds use three major routes to make this passage. The Western path crosses the Mediterranean over Morocco into Spain and is used by some 300 million birds. The Central path over Tunisia into Sicily and is used by some 200 million birds. The Eastern path over Sinai Peninsula, used by what some ornithologists estimate to be1500 million birds, divides in the northeast of Egypt and forms two separate paths which enter Palestine by way of two passage points. One path crosses the Red Sea over Southern Sinai and the flow of migrating birds is then channeled through the Aqaba-Eilat gulf area (a unique place to see them before they relatively disperse) into the Naqab desert entering the West Bank from the South. The other path passes over northern Sinai entering the Gaza Strip across its’ southern border. Visit

The number of bird species found in Palestine today amounts to about 470. This is a very large and varied numbers compared with other countries, and especially so in view of the limited total land area of Palestine. There are three main reasons for the high number of bird species: a) Palestine is located on the main migration route to and from Africa of the birds of Europe and western Asia; b) Palestine has an abundant variety of environments, providing a range of habitats; c) Palestine stands at the crossroads of three continents and various climatic zones, and is the scene of interaction between three biogeographical regions. Visit Birds of Palestine

Today, the largest Palestinian land animals are mountain gazelles, wild boar, foxes, jungle cats, Nubian ibex and the rarely seen leopards, hyenas, jackals and wolves. In all, there are 116 different species of land animals in Palestine, compared with 140 in the whole of Europe, which is 300 times larger. This is an impressive figure for a small country, but the numbers of animals within each species is shrinking.
Since the 1960s, the Nature Reserves Authority has been reintroducing populations of animals which were native to the area in biblical times, under a program known as Hai-Bar. Breeding centers for Mediterranean animals (in the Carmel) and desert animals (at Yotvata in the Araba) have been set up, and five species selected for the first stage: ostriches, roe deer, Asiatic wild asses, Persian fallow deer and white oryx. All except the roe deer are globally endangered. The founder animals for each species came from both zoos and the wild, around the world. Successful reintroductions into the wild have already been implemented for the Asiatic wild ass (starting in 1982), the fallow deer (since 1996) and, most recently, the white oryx (1997). Visit Mammals of Palestine

An incomplete list of 2,700 species of vascular plants which are native to Palestine, the Land of Israel. The area defined as Palestine in the Flora Palaestina includes: the whole area of the State of Israel as of 2007; the West Bank; the Gaza Strip; the Golan Heights; the Israeli part of Mount Hermon; and the East Bank, which is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Wikipedia

Books about Palestian wildlife

This work is intended for individuals with diverse interests such as conservation, zoogeography, and taxonomy as well as the amateur naturalist
A Photographic Guide to Birds of Israel & the Middle East This photo guide, like its many sister photo guides, is best used as a practice tool in conjunction with a complete field guide.

Birds of the Middle East (Helm Field Guides) The standard field guide

This is the first comprehensive field guide dealing exclusively with the birds of this region. It covers all the species, including vagrants, found in the Arabian peninsula (including Socotra), Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Cyprus. Over 700 species are described in concise text with full details of pulmage and voice. Distribution maps appear opposite the plates and are annotated with each species’ status and preferred habitat. This authoritative book will not only be an indispensable guide to the visiting birder, but also a vital tool for those engaged in work to conserve and study the avifauna of this region, which is of such importance to both the indigenous species and those which pass through on migration.

Mammals of the Holy Land