A large herd of rare antelopes was spotted strolling about the sun-scorched plains of the southern Arava region Sunday morning.
Drone footage shows 16 Arabian oryxes walking peacefully near the Tzichur Stream.
The hooved mammal is characterized by its snow-white coat, contrasting dark markings on its face and legs, and long and almost straight horns. It is native to the Middle East region but went extinct in Israel by the turn of the 20th century.
The Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) — a government organization that manages nature reserves and national parks in Israel — has launched a campaign over the past two decades aiming to reintroduce the Arabian oryx to the country’s ecological system by releasing a few dozen individuals into the wild.
NPA conservationists described the sighting as a massive success for the campaign, noting that none of the group's individuals had any markings on them — meaning all 16 were likely born in the wild.
“This observation is very special because we saw a herd with three younglings, among them one that was born in the last two months,” said NPA ecologist Dr. Tal Polak. "You can see none of the herd’s members has any markings, meaning that the entire herd was most probably born in the wild."
“This is a great success since most oryxes were released into the wild in the late 1990s and early 2000s, meaning we have at least two whole generations that were born in the wild.”