Search Is on for Wolf That Approached Visitor in Israel's Ein Gedi Reserve

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A wolf in south Israel.
A wolf in southern Israel.Credit: Dr. Haim Berger

Inspectors are looking for a wolf that was spotted in Nahal David on Monday. As a result, parts of the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve have been closed to visitors

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority reported that at around noon a tourist reported a wolf or a jackal that approached her in the Nahal David area. The authority’s inspectors embarked on searches and ambushes.

The authority said that if they are unable to catch the animal alive, they will be forced to kill it. While parts of Nahal David have been closed to visitors, Nahal Arugot and the synagogue in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve are open as usual.

Over the past four months 10 attacks by wolves have been reported, all in campgrounds and communities in the Judean Desert. Almost all the attacks were on small children. The two latest occurrences took place about a week and a half ago when two children were attacked by a wolf in the Ein Gedi Field School and another child was attacked at the Ein Gedi spring. All were lightly wounded.

Dr. Haim Berger, an expert on wolf behavior who analyzed the cases, discovered that the preying wolves don’t attack to threaten or play, but to eat the children. He said that there is no question that the danger is real. He compared the Israeli statistic to other places in the world and discovered that in the United States, where there are tens of thousands of wolves, the phenomenon is virtually unknown. He reasons that the wolves of the Judean Desert have undergone a long-term process of dangerous acclimatization to human society. They have learned that not only is there no need to fear humans, but that they are likely to be a source of food for them, like baby ibexes or rock hyraxes.

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