Agricultural damage caused by animals, and especially that caused by large mammals, includes both damage to agricultural infrastructure, such as damage to irrigation systems and fences, and damage to agricultural crops and produce. However, in many parts of Israel, and especially in the center of the country, natural open spaces have almost completely disappeared, and agricultural areas serve as corridors between patches of natural area, or as the last habitats in which wild animals can still exist. To try and develop interfaces which on the one hand minimize the damage to agriculture caused by animals, and on the other hand encourage the use of agricultural land as an important ecological corridor, one must first understand the use-patterns of animals in the agricultural land. To this end, Hamaarag, under the guidance of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, conducted a survey in agricultural groves in the center of Israel.
The survey’s goals were to:
- Evaluate how animals, and mainly large mammals, use agricultural space, and characterize their patterns of use.
- Examine the connection between the use-patterns of selected species in the agricultural area, and the damage caused to agriculture.
- Assess the importance of agricultural space as a habitat and ecological corridor supporting a variety of species.