Flora & Fauna

Adjusting to different habitats (Mediterranean, semi-arid, coastal plain) the flora & fauna are represented in all their diversity. Over 2,800 species of plants have been identified here on a comparatively small area. In the last century there were still large wooded areas, but they were sacrificed when the railway was built and wood was required for it. Today, fruit trees (olive, almond, orange, apricot …) dominate the countryside while wild species such as pine, cypress, carob, acacia and turpentine trees are limited to certain regions (in the Galilee and on Mt. Carmel), on the edges of villages and in wadis.

The vast wild desert or semi-desert mountainous spaces are a refuge for various wildlife species of which some can be observed in the wadis in the early morning or at dusk. The Nubian ibex (Capra ibex nubiana) and the Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) are common on the hills of the West Bank. In Wadi Araba, another gazelle (Gazella gazella) and the rock daman (Procavia capensis), a member of the marmot family, are amongst the most numerous and accessible animals. Predators also exist here: wolves (Canis lupus) are common in uninhabited areas, panthers (Panthera pardus) make their home in the arid mountains of the South Hebron Hills, and striped hyaena (Hyaena hyaena) live near remote villages where one sometimes hears their laughing cry.

Land based fauna is similarly quite diverse unique and rich with over 730 species including mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Furthermore, because of its unique position between Africa, Asia and Europe, Palestine is considered as a major grassroots for Migratory birds such as Storks and Pelicans. The Jordan Valley – Jericho and Jerusalem mountains routes are major pathways during the migration times as well as important spots for resident and breeding birds. Over 520 species of birds have been recorded in Palestine by the Wildlife society.

Information provided courtesy of the Alternative Tourism Group.