The Mystery Deer

Last week, we went on a trip to the highest point and most northern tip of Israel: Mount Hermon. Yes, I know some will say it’s actually Syria, but that’s not the point here. I personally would gladly exchange the Hermon and all the Golan Heights for peace. But never mind that! The point is that it actually snows on the Hermon in winter. You can even ski down a few slopes! It’s got nothing on places like Canada or Switzerland, but for Israel, it’s great excitement.

I will spare you the details of the trip – we got stuck in traffic for hours, spent a few miserable rainy hours on a small, overcrowded snowy slope with a non-functional cable car and got soaked to the skin. The children still managed to have fun though! Of course, as soon as we drove off the weather cleared up immediately and we had a great view of the snowy mountain. We took some pictures along the way and were glad when we finally reached home.

Snowy Mount Hermon

Also wildlife-wise, the trip was a disappointment. The entire weekend, there wasn’t a single wild animal in sight. The north is usually full of wildlife! But the surprise came when we got home and looked at the photos we had taken. This is what we saw:

It doesn’t look very interesting. But if you look closely, you see this:

What the..? Is that… a reindeer? Well, that’s impossible. It looks like it could be a male red deer. But there are no red deer in Israel. Usually, when people here speak about “deer”, they mean this amazing wild goat that you can see in the South, the Nubian ibex:

This photo of a Nubian ibex buck was taken in the Negev desert

So then… What animal photobombed our picture..?? It’s a mystery!

But wait… there IS actually a native deer species that looks like that. The Persian fallow deer was thought to be extinct in the wild, but a small population was discovered in Iran. With a lot of negotiations and difficulties, some animals were brought to Israel in the 1970’s, and now a few breeding populations have been re-established. But they are still very rare and I didn’t think I would ever see them.

So this might actually have been a Persian fallow deer! My trip has been saved! It was a succes after all! πŸ™‚

Then again, it might just have been an oddly-shaped tree… πŸ˜‰


About tarnegolita

Dutch expatriate, mother of 3 boys, freelance translator and pet zoo keeper in a kibbutz in Israel.
This entry was posted in Animals, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Mystery Deer

  1. Lol…mystery! But fascinating to think it might be a fallow deer..great scenic photos :)x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. markgelbart says:

    I say it is a fallow deer…or a manmade statue of a fallow deer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. aheikkinen says:

    My guess also is it’s a giant statue of a mountain goat πŸ™‚ Next time you go there, stop to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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