Severed animal heads found in Galilee for second time in a week

Four antelope heads and one porcupine head found in the village of Ahbara in Safed after animal heads found last week.

June 25, 2013 15:40
2 minute read.
Deer head

Deer head. (photo credit: Courtesy Nature and Parks Authority)

For the second time in a week, the severed heads of wild animals were left on display in the Galilee, in the what the Israel Nature and Parks Authority says is a message sent by poachers.

On Tuesday, the four antelope heads and one porcupine head were found next to the main street in the Arab village of Akbara in Safed’s municipal boundaries.

Following the incident, INPA head Shaul Goldstein said that “these beautiful wild animals paid with their lives because of the cruelty of hunters. We will continue to fight this phenomenon and protect the nature areas of our country.”

Last Tuesday, two severed antelope heads were found tied to a chain link fence in the Nahal Amud nature reserve in the northern Galilee.

Liad Ling, head investigator for the INPA’s northern branch, said the heads were left by poachers in order to convey the message that “we’re here and we’re not afraid of you.” Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Ling described a cat-and-mouse game between small numbers of park rangers covering vast tracts of land, searching for teams of hunters armed with rifles and nightvision goggles, as well as IDFissued gear.

Ling said hunting has become a major source of income for poachers in Israel’s nature reserves, with the meat of a single antelope fetching between NIS 1,200 to NIS 1,500 on the black market.

Ling added that the severed heads are just the latest in a campaign of intimidation towards the INPA, including an incident earlier this month in which the car of a park ranger was torched outside his home, and another back in April, when a park ranger was severely beaten by unknown assailants wielding metal poles.

Israel Hunters Association chairman Muhammed Abed Alhalim from Kafr Manda in the Galilee said that the around 2,000 licensed hunters in his organization are against illegal hunting, which he says tends to give legal hunters a bad name.

He said he and the members of the organization hunt wild boar year-round, as well as waterfowl during the season, from June 6 to January 31.

He added that efforts by authorities to fight poachers and a general lack of public or cultural awareness of hunting in Israel create a situation hostile to sportsmen, who are severely limited in what they are able to legally hunt in Israel.

“There are people out on the roads who break the law – do they close down all the roads? There are illegal hunters, so they have to make things harder on all hunters?”

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