With the Bible as a guide to Israel you will find the ancient towns mentioned in the Good Book through the ages. You will walk in the footsteps of the prophets and the kings of Israel and visit the towns where the heroes of ancient Israel lived, fought and preached. Yet within the Bible there are also mentioned the names of many animals, birds, reptiles and the creatures of the sea that figure prominently in the writings of the prophets and kings. Many of us have a good doctrine of prayer, but a poor doctrine of creation, and are unaware of the creatures of nature in the Good Book. Let me take you, through this article, to the zoos and animal reserves and meet the animals, birds, sea creatures and reptiles as mentioned in the Bible.
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
"O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
The earth is full of your creations". (Psalms 104: 1-20),
The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem (62 acres) - the Biblical Zoo is famous for its collection of wildlife mentioned in the Bible.
A wide path lined with shrubs leads from the zoo entrance past the parrots’ cages and the deer enclosure to the giraffes and emus in their area that walk about like royalty. The very air within the zoo is filled with the twittering of birds, the shrill cries of monkeys and the wolves who join in and raise their voices in concert. As one walks by the cage of the Demoiselle crane one's eyes fall on a slim tree with a placard tied to its trunk with the inscription: I am a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found." (Hosea 14:8). This an example of placards fixed on cages, which indicates that the Bible acts as a guide to the exhibitions. The cages and enclosures all bear signs with the name enclosed with the names of the animals and references in the Bible – written in Hebrew, English and Arabic.
In the 'Children's Zoo', a 25 acre part of the zoo, the little ones can come close to their favorite domesticated animals, such as sheep, goats and doves, which they can stroke and feed – all under supervision. Another attraction for children and adults alike is the miniature railway that runs along a route in the zoo.
The Biblical Zoo, POB 898, Jerusalem, 91008
Tel: 02 675 0111 Fax: 02 643 0122
Carmel Hai Bar (Wildlife Preserve)
"My beloved is like a gazelle
Or a young wild goat…" (Song of Songs 2:9)
The Carmel Hai-Bar is a 1500 acre breeding and reclamation center administered by the Israel Nature and National Parks Authority. Endangered and extinct animals mentioned in the Bible are bred here for possible reintroduction to the forests of Northern Israel. Some of the species bred at the reserve are Persian fallow deer, mountain gazelle, roe deer, fire salamander, white-tailed eagle. The Hai Bar Reserve has a large vulture cage, built in the hopes of returning the birds to nature. The Carmel range is the natural habitat of these birds, but due to indiscriminate hunting the vultures were nearly exterminated.
Some day the vultures and other animals found today in the wildlife preserve should fly and roam freely in the region. The varied animals in the Hai-Bar will create a network of scrub forest and woods and meadows. Through their foraging they will form a mosaic of habitats, species of grasses, bulbs, shrubs and climbers feeding a large variety of insects and reptiles, rodents and birds – this, after all, is what nature conversation is all about.
Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve
Israel Nature and National Parks Authority
3 Am Ve’Olamo St., Jerusalem, 95463
Tel: 02 500 5444; Fax: 02 652 9232.
Hai-Bar Yotvata (Biblical Wildlife Preserve)
"Who has let the wild ass of Syria range at will
And given the wild ass of Arabia its freedom—
Whose home I have made in the wilderness…" Job 39:5-6
The Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve (Biblical Wildlife Preserve) is a 3,000 acre breeding and reclamation center administered by the Israel Nature Reserves and National Parks Authority located in the southern Negev near Kibbutz Yotvata. Endangered and extinct animals mentioned in the Bible are bred here for possible reintroduction to the vast Negev desert. Some of the species that are bred there are Somali wild ass, Arabian oryx, ostrich, onager, sand cat, dorcas gazelle, griffon vulture, Arabian wolf, Arabian leopard and more.
The southern part of the reserve contains a well organized breeding center for endangered desert species, and a variety of desert predators, some of them extremely rare, which are indigenous to this region of the Negev, the Arava region. One may observe reptiles, including poisonous snakes, and desert rodents indigenous to the Negev. Nearby are large cages and enclosures for breeding the nuclei of the Negev's birds of prey.
Israel Nature Reserves and Park Authorities
Southern District – 19 Ha’avot St., Beer Sheva
Tel: 08 628 0404; Fax: 08 623 0021; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Israel Natures Reserves and Park Authorities –
Headquarters: 3 Am Ve’Olamo St., Jerusalem, 95463.
Tel: 02 500 5444; Fax: 02 652 9232.
Note: There are also a variety of zoos and zoological gardens in Israel - Safari Zoological Center, Ramat Gan - Bird and Reptile Park, Tel Aviv – Educational Zoo, Haifa. For a listing of Israeli zoos - www.science.co.il/zoos.asp