After losing the local leopards, cheetahs, bears, and ostriches, Israel is on its way to saying goodbye to a few more species of wildlife; which species are endangered, why, and how can we save them?

Noa Fischer | Published: 03.03.22

Thursday, March 3rd, marks World Wildlife Day, and we pay tribute by checking which animals are considered endangered species in Israel, and evaluating what we can do to protect them.

“Regarding invertebrates, it’s hard to determine what the state of their population is, but we know of a few species of butterflies that are endangered, such as the Cigaritis cilissa butterfly”, said Dotan Rotem, open spaces ecologist at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. According to Rotem, this species still thrives in the Upper Galilee region, but is struggling in the Sharon, Hadera, and Caesara areas.

נחושתן-נמלים גלילי

“We’re aware of only a few places that populations of this species still exist. It’s a very special butterfly, that lives together with ants”, Rotem said.Another special bug that until recently was thought to be extinct is called the Mole cricket, a species that lives only in Israel, and is native to the Dead Sea area. For years this kind of cricket was not seen anywhere, and recently distinct sounds were heard in a nature reserve that tell us the species exists there, said the ecologist.

ערצב ים המלח

Rotem explained that we’re in an era of significant decline of biological diversity, especially among insects. “This is a long-term effects of using pesticides and fertilizers”, he said.The Be’er Sheva fringe-fingered lizard is also a native Israeli endangered species. This lizard resides mostly in the sands of the Northern Negev. Rotem said that the species was endangered because its habitats are becoming scarce as the ecological balance in the area is changing due to tree planting projects in the South.

שנונית באר שבע בשמורת טבע פארק הלס

The decline of viable habitats for the otters in Israel are causing them to be extremely endangered. Predictions say that only a few dozen otters still live in Israel, and its presence is essential to the ecological system and its biological diversity.


Another animal that has almost completely disappeared from Israel is the Acacia Gazelle. with only 31 found last October.

צבי שיטים

As for the Griffon vulture- “We’re in a up-down movement, mostly downscale, of the vulture population in Israel, and we’re struggling to stabilize them because there is a problem of electrocution and poison”, said the ecologists. Vultures prey largely on carcasses, a lot of which die from poison in Israel, which is deadly to the vultures as well.

נשר בחי בר כרמל

According to Rotem- the more stable the biological diversity is, the more it can survive climate changes. “Today we talk a lot about connectivity, ecological corridors- we’re here to say that there’s significance in looking at the whole space in which animals live and can pass from place to place. It’s important for the climate change as well. Its important to create a network of passages between protected areas- the nature reserves and forests”,