Habitat utilization and social organization of female mountain gazelles at the Ramat‑HaNadiv Park

The social organization of female mountain gazelles was studied at Ramat-HaNadiv Park, on Mount Carmel. The behavior of distinctly recognized individuals was studied by year-round observations. This is the first study that individually identified female gazelles in the field. It is acceptable to believe that the male gazelles hold their own territories, and that females alternate between them. This study focused on females and new details were found: Female gazelles lived in distinct groups whose composition remained constant throughout the year. New females did not freely entered the established groups. Group home ranges overlapped, but various groups replaced each other in the same area at different times of the day. Different groups tended to use different parts of the overlapping home range. In general, but especially in the summer the different groups largely avoided being synchronously together in the same area. The occurrence of two groups in the same area at the same time was a rare event and when it occurred, a high rate of agonistic interaction was observed between the groups. Hence, groups of female mountain gazelles hold and defend temporal territories against other female groups, in contrast the reports that only male gazelles hold territory and female groups move among them. Mean seasonal group size ranged between 3.4 and 6.4 and was largest during winter, when groups of females joined together occasionally and little between-groups agonistic interaction was observed. It is suggested that group size is affected by food availability and predation pressure. Deliveries occurred throughout the year, but mainly during the spring.
 
Hagit Geffen
 

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Accessibility

An accessible trail through the Nature Park

In the Nature Park at Ramat Hanadiv there are a number of spectacular hiking routes.

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Sustainability

The Footprint Garden

The term ‘ecological footprint’ is taking shape in the western part of the Visitors Pavilion. A large gardening plot shaped like a foot lies in the middle of the area, with the heel pointing north, and the five toes, as one unit – to the south.

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Dining Here

Dining-The Picnic Site

The picnic area is located near the secondary parking lot. You are welcome to spend time there before or after your tour of the Gardens.

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The Footprint Garden

The term ‘ecological footprint’ is taking shape in the western part of the Visitors Pavilion. A large gardening plot shaped like a foot lies in the middle of the area, with the heel pointing north, and the five toes, as one unit – to the south.

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Within the foot and outside of it is a colorful mixture of vegetation that attracts butterflies: nectar in the flowers, and leaves as a place for laying eggs and as food for the larvae (caterpillars). Besides the enjoyment and beauty provided by the butterflies, they are used as a biological indicator that reflects changes occurring within ecosystems.
Fringed rue, for example, is a medicinal plant with a controversial fragrance among humans; however for the Old World swallowtail it is a safe refuge for rearing its larvae. It turns out that most of the plants in the crucifer family are used as hosts for the Large white, while during a shortage, leaves of the garden nasturtium will suffice. But don’t worry, the larvae won’t start nibbling leaves in the nearby shrubbery. Even scutch grass, considered by most to be a ‘weed’, is the preferred host for one butterfly: the female Large wall brown lays her eggs on it.
The Footprint Garden also includes plants that attract birds, such as: Buddleia (butterfly bush), Hibiscus and Lantana, which breathe life into the garden.
The Footprint Garden strives to show visitors the importance of a range of organisms, both large and small, each one with its role in the overall web of life. Besides conservation of biodiversity, the garden conveys an important social message of integrating different people into the community. The garden is cared for by the green fingers of people with disabilities, who are part of the gardening staff at Ramat Hanadiv.
As a technological complement, the plumbing of the geothermic cooling system was dug beneath this garden, and the pipes may be seen through a window to the soil’s depths.
All of these carry an important message for the future:

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Our actions today determine the ecological stamp we leave for future generations; it’s best that we leave colorful, carefree footprints of flowers and butterflies…

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