These are Persian fallow deer at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo in photos I took last February.
Enlarge the photos and enjoy.
Just last week six of these animals made big news in Israel.
Six yachmurot, female fallow deer, were released into nature--right here near us in the Jerusalem Hills, in a nature reserve in the Soreq Valley!
The breeding and return to nature program of this once almost extinct breed has been going on for quite some years.
But it was halted over the last three years because of the increasing danger to the deer from packs of hungry feral dogs.
Because the number of now-wild dogs grew, along with the danger of rabies, it was recently decided to once again allow official rangers to shoot such dogs in parks and reserves.
(See details in Haaretz.)
[If the article is behind a paywall you can do a simple registration for ten free articles per month at http://www.haaretz.com/misc/subscription .]
You can read more by enlarging this Zoo information sign.
Or see Zoo articles here and here.
What I heard yesterday in a radio interview with Zoo director Shai Doron:
The six deer were tranquilized for the 20-minute drive from the zoo to their new home.I wish them luck. How I would love to be hiking in my beloved Jerusalem Hills and one day see a wild deer!
Each doe got a radio-telemetry transmitter collar so they can be tracked and monitored.
At Shmurat Hasoreq the cage was opened and they staggered out.
At the beginning they live in a big acclimation enclosure and when they have gotten used to the Mediterranean Woodland surroundings, they are set free.
Except--the first night one of the does managed to jump over the 2-meter high fence.
They found her dead the next morning, with no signs of having been attacked.
To learn how the first four Persian fallow deer were flown out of Iran just in time, see in the Wall Street Journal
"How Bambi Met James Bond to Save Israel's 'Extinct' Deer --
It Took Cloak-and-Dagger Effort to Return Creatures From Iran to Biblical Home"
(A post for Camera-Critters).