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Chinese News Service - From 3 to 100, urban park boosts gazelle population in central Jerusalem - 2022-08-22 12:34:07



JERUSALEM, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- In the concrete jungle of Jerusalem lies an urban park that serves as a precious habitat for gazelles and a place of relaxation for citizens.

The park, named Gazelle Valley, is a haven not only for gazelles, but also for different types of wild birds, turtles and plants. The ecosystem in the urban park "shows how we can make large animals and people live in peace," Amir Balaban, co-founder of the Gazelle Valley, told Xinhua.

The area has long been a habitat for gazelles, but since the 1990s, when highways were built nearby, things have become worse as more and more gazelles are being hit by cars. Predators' hunting and increased human activities also led to a sharp decrease in the number of the animal.

When the Gazelle Valley park was officially established in 2015, there were only three gazelles in the area. But over the past seven years, the number increased significantly to around 100, thanks to the safe natural habitat provided by the park, said Balaban, also head of the urban wildlife initiative in the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, which administers the park.

To protect the endangered animal, surplus gazelles would be released into natural reserves across Israel if its population exceeds the area's carrying capacity, he added.

In the 1980s, Jerusalem municipality once proposed a real estate development plan to build apartments in the area, which sparked opposition from the local community and non-governmental organizations. After a protracted legal battle that lasted more than 10 years, a coalition of local residents and environmentalists successfully saved the place and decided to turn it into an urban park for gazelles and citizens.

"It's like a fairy tale, and I have the honor to be a part of the story," said Balaban.

Now the urban park is open to all visitors free of charge. Everyone was welcome to explore the park, walk around, and learn more about gazelles as well as the park's ecosystem.

"This is the way to bring people back to nature and make people understand how important nature is to our survival," Balaban said, adding "nature is the most important element that helps us to survive on this planet." 

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VOJ Comment - Its interesting that the Chinese are reporting on this subject.

Original Article:
english.news.cn/20220821/ff77b7dd13854b8592803a47793ac9de/c.html

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