Wild dogs have overrun the Nevatim air base near Be'er Sheva, where most recently they were caught chasing protected deer. On one occasion, a deer on the run actually crashed into a jet on the runway. Packs of wild dogs have become increasingly common in the Negev in recent years, where they are known to be killing and devouring protected wild animals.

Two weeks ago, the Nature and Parks Authority was informed of an incident on the Nevatim base, in which a deer was seen on one of the runways. One of the crewmen, charged with chasing away birds to prevent them from colliding with jets, arrived at the scene where he found deer tracks and eventually spotted the deer itself.

Minutes later, a pack of wild dogs was also seen at the base. They managed to cross the barbed wire fence and charged the deer, with the latter dashing across Nevatim's runways in an attempt to escape.

A year ago, another deer crashed into a jet on one of the runways. The source who reported the incident to the Nature and Park authority said the deer normally don't cross the runways, which are slightly elevated, and only do so when they are trying to escape the dogs.

Nature and Parks Authority staff have reported an increase in recent years in groups of wild dogs who were abandoned by their owners and have turned into packs of predators.

The dogs prey on rare wild animals, including fallow deer, which have only recently been reintroduced into the Israeli wild. The wild dogs also pose a serious health risk to humans, as many of them are rabid.

In the past, the authority's inspectors would cull the dog packs regularly. But Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan ordered them to stop and to flesh out more stringent criteria for cases in which shooting the dogs is justified. The criteria have yet to be decided, and no culling is presently being carried out.