The Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Natural Underpass for Wildlife

Hey, where’s everyone going?

The wildlife living here – gazelles, porcupines, jackals, rabbits, foxes, and wild boar – daily traverse the underpass below the Zihkron Ya’akov – Binyamina road, which was built especially for them to facilitate their safe passage from Ramat Hanadiv to the Alona Hills and Ramot Menashe, and also in the other direction.

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Why do they need to go so far?

Because wild animals need a continuous connection to different natural areas, and not just those within a short radius. Wild animals that remain enclosed in a ‘deserted island’ of nature like Ramat Hanadiv, which is surrounded by residential neighbourhoods and roads, are likely to suffer genetic defects and diseases in the future, which will reduce their resistance and ability to survive in nature, and are in danger of extinction.

And what awaits them at the end of the tunnel?

What currently awaits them is a construction site that is part of the ‘Wine Park’ tourism project in Zikhron Ya’akov, which will include residential and tourist buildings, and in recent months has threatened to block the continued passage of wildlife to the Alona Hills. Fortunately, following a long and winding process that included joint discussions with authorities and nature conservation groups as well as the residents’ battle, everyone agrees that it is important to allow the natural passage for wildlife – the ecological corridor – to be maintained among the different natural areas, and the works were stopped in order to re-plan the project. The planning team, with members from both Zikhron Ya’akov Local Council and Israel Lands Authority, is currently working on expanding the ecological corridor and creating a green strip that will link Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park with the open landscapes to its east.

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