Photo: Daniel Berkowic

Just before the sand dunes between Beer Milka and Kadesh Barnea, which are home to many species of animals, are to be converted to agricultural land, we received permission from the Nature and Parks Authority to collect animals inhabiting the area. The collection was carried out in mid-June and the beginning of July. The animals were collected, measured, their details documented and they were transported to the Zoological Garden.

Photo: Moshe Peri

The Oriental plane tree (Platanus orientalis) is a tall, fast-growing tree, found growing alongside perennial streams in the Upper Galilee, the Hula Valley and the Golan Heights; a few trees can also be found alongside the Dolev stream in Samaria. The Oriental plane tree is listed in the Red Data Book of rare and endangered plants in Israel, it is protected by law and threatened by habitat degradation and overexploitation. Alongside one of the pools in the Botanical Garden grows an impressively beautiful Oriental Plane, 15 m high and approximately 40 years old.

Photo: Gavri Sion

The delicate humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba) is currently blooming in the pool beneath the entrance bridge to the tropical greenhouse, among the water lily (Nymphaea) plants. It features a small, delicate, insect-pollinated yellow flower protruding a few centimetres above the water surface. However, its more interesting parts are hidden beneath the water surface.

Photo: Michal Roche-Ben Ami

Last month (June 2015) we celebrated an inauguration ceremony of the Dolhinov open classroom. The classroom is under the large Oriental plane tree (Palatanus orientalis), in front of the research root laboratory in the Botanical Garden. The open classroom is dedicated to the memory of the Jewish community of Dolhinov (Belarus), persecuted and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators between March to May 1942. The open classroom was built thanks to the generous donation of the survivors and their descendants, led by Mr. Leon Rubin.

Photo: Ron Elazari-Volcani

The growth rate of deer antlers is the fastest in the animal world: the cell division and growth rate of the antler's cells are similar to those of cancer. The growth process of the antler is under hormonal control, and the antler ceases to grow at the beginning of the reproduction season, with the rise in the level of testosterone. At this stage begins the peeling phase of the ‘velvet’ – the highly vascular skin that covers the antler.

Photo: Oz Rittner

  We are already in mid-summer – hot and dry, and there is no exciting news to report from the main lawn of the Zoological Garden.  The reproduction season is long over, ending with the departure of the yellow-legged gulls. We believe they'll return in the winter, as they do every year. 

Photo: Tal Levanony

Mosquitoes are a problematic nuisance in summer in Israel. They reproduce in summer in any standing water source, laying their eggs in or near the water, and their emerging larvae develop in the water. The adult mosquitoes fly and imbibe flower nectar, but the females require a supply of protein-rich blood in order to lay their eggs, and so they bite! In addition to Culex pipiens and other local mosquito species, a little more than a decade ago our region was invaded by a new species – the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).