The mission of Yotvata Hai-Bar (Wildlife Preserve) Nature Reserve is to establish reproduction groups for populations of wild animals that are mentioned in the Bible but have disappeared from our landscape, as well as for other endangered desert animals. The reserve is dotted with acacia trees (Acacia tortilis and Acacia raddiana) and includes a variety of desert habitats: an acacia forest, a salt marsh, and sand dunes.
The reserve has three parts: a three-acre penned-in open area, where herds of herbivorous animals live in conditions similar to those in the wild; the Predators Center, where reptiles, small desert animals, and large predators are on display; and the Desert Night Life Exhibition Hall, where night and day are reversed so that visitors to the reserve can observe nocturnal animals during their active hours.
The wildlife preserve has a large population of onagers. This untamable Asiatic wild ass has tremendous physical strength and remarkable fortitude. Onagers bred in the reproduction groups at the Yotvata Hai-Bar have been released into the Negev Desert and are apparently acclimating well to their new surroundings. Other animals on view at the reserve include the African ass (ancestor of the donkey), addax, ostrich, Arabian oryx, and scimitar oryx. Yotvata Hai-Bar is raising reproduction groups of oryx as part of an international campaign to save this species from extinction.
Predators are held in cages away from the open area in which the mammals live. A visit to the Predators Center provides a rare opportunity for visitors to observe wolves, sand foxes, Afghan foxes, fennecs, leopards, caracals, wild cat, sand cats, and striped hyenas. Birds of prey and desert reptiles are also housed at the center.
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