A 22-year-old Jerusalem resident was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of attempting to hunt gazelles in the city's Gazelle Valley reserve.
The suspect was arrested in the valley with a gun in his possession after police received reports of gunfire in the area, and confessed during questioning. No gazelles were found injured from the gunfire.
This is the first time a suspect was arrested for hunting since the park, considered to be the most important urban nature site in the country, opened in 2015.
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Over 65 gazelles of all ages live in the park, which is situated between Jerusalem's Katamon and Givat Mordechai neighborhoods. It was established after a battle waged by residents, environmentalists, archaeologists and the municipality on one side and developers planning a new neighborhood at the location on the other.
When the reserve opened, it was home to just three gazelles – their population had whittled down by speeding vehicles and preying dogs, jackals and foxes wandering through the area.
The park put up fences, and a breeding and rehabilitation program helped the herd multiply. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel believes that the gazelle population can grow further.