Moment Desert Goats Cross Dead Sea Highway To Mate

Story ByLee Bullen, Sub EditorJoseph Golder, AgencyNewsflash

This is the moment nearly 100 desert-dwelling goats cross the busy Highway 90 in Israel where COVID-19 lockdown has led to reduced traffic on roads.

Avner Rinot, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel/Newsflash

The footage shows a herd of around 80 Nubian ibexes (Capra nubiana), a desert-dwelling goat species found in mountainous areas in northern Africa and the Middle East.

The desert goats crossed Highway 90 in the Dead Sea Valley within minutes as the film maker waited in a car nearby.

Avner Rinot, a member of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel who filmed the clip, said: “Because it’s mating season, Ibexes are concentrated in large groups, with many males attempting to court the females.

Avner Rinot, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel/Newsflash

“What is certain is that the animals have gained some quiet from human activity and their freedom of movement is well felt at some sites, which are usually full of hikers and vacationers.”

Amir Balaban, director of urban nature at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, said that ibexes mate in autumn in the areas of the Judean Desert, the Negev, and the Golan Heights.

Their routine includes descending early in the morning from the local cliffs towards the grazing areas near streams where they take shade and rest before returning to the cliffs in the evening.

Avner Rinot, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel/Newsflash

Balaban said: “This season, the females are still roaming the herds with the cuffs they bore last year and the males, with the young single ones especially, chasing them everywhere.

“The bigger males are busy fighting among themselves and soon they will mate, which ensures that next April will see many more cuffs.

“The herd that crossed the road demonstrates how much of a challenge it is to move between habitats, and thanks to the lockdown and quiet traffic on the roads, there is less chance of Ibex getting run over.

Avner Rinot, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel/Newsflash

“However, during normal traffic, we see many Ibexes getting run over when attempting to eat the weeds on the side of the road. Once the lockdown is over and normal traffic returns, we must pay special attention to the wild animals that have become accustomed to the relative freedom of movement.

He added: “After the last closure, we saw many Ibexes get hit by cars.”

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