In addition to infantry, armor and intelligence units, the Israel Defense Forces has also deployed eight Eland antelope to further secure Israel's tense northern border against Hezbollah.
The antelope have been stationed in the zone between the security fence and the international border to clear problematic foliage that distorts views of the Lebanese side and within which Hezbollah guerillas could hide.
The animals, each weighing in at over 500 kilograms, are known for their sharp incisors and fondness for eating vegetation. Hailing from eastern Africa, the animals were first brought to Israel more than 30 years ago as part of a project to raise them at local zoos before sending them to Europe.
Israel's defense establishment has apparently caught onto the beasts' impressive ability to quickly chew through large quantities, as well as the low cost of looking after them and their environmental-friendliness.
Hagai Ilan, of the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority, said the ability of the antelope was already known but it took around a decade until extra antelope were produced in captivity for the idea to come up to bring them to IDF bases to clear the weeds that grow every two years.
"They eat huge quantities of weeds, they are the D9 of weeds," Ilan said, referring to the massive bulldozers the IDF uses to clear enemy territory. "They clean problematic areas, open trails and a view and prevent fires."
This is not the first time that the IDF has augmented its forces with animals. In addition to the army's elite canine unit, Oketz, IDF infantry units have also used llamas to transport supplies into Lebanon.
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