Ever since I stopped photographing with zoom lenses, the camera became an important means of communication and interaction for me. Naturally, this usually occurs with people during my travels around the world, as close encounters with wildlife are a great wish, but rarely happen.
Not far from Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev Desert, where Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion found inspiration and peace, the huge Wadi Tzin is home to large herds of Nubian ibex. Nearby, the Ben-Gurion academic and educational center is often visited by curious hungry ibex. But during the autumn, following a long and dry summer, vegetation is dry, and food resources for the ibex become extremely scarce. Visits of ibex become more frequent, and they venture deeper into residential areas to enjoy the greenery this men-made oasis offers.
Lately I was lucky to have a joyful interaction with Nubian ibex there. The more they visit inhabited places, the more they feel comfortable with human beings.
A young ibex sunbathing on a rock caught my attention
this photo was taken from a distance not much greater than a meter
and this is the ultimate intimate moment. The original frame
This phenomenon is also familiar to residents and visitors of the town of Mitzpe Ramon, 40kms south of Sde Boker, as well as hikers in the Judean Desert in Ein Gedi area.
Residents in the area face the negative implications of sharing the same land. Although some are mainly concerned about fences they’re forced to install to protect their loved gardens, lately an ibex was killed by a car, and dogs often frighten ibex group, triggering a scary run which may end with a harmful encounter with a human being.
The National Parks Authority refrains from providing feeding centers to the ibex during the dry season, claiming “they were here before you”, although feeding vultures in designated spots not far from there has been done for years.
In the meantime, the opportunity to get so close to these majestic creatures, is certainly a delight.