Eats grass and leaves
Hunting, habitat destruction
Gazelles are excellent runners and can reach speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour, running for hundreds of meters at a time. Running is the main way that gazelles escape from predators, however they can also jump high or kick with their hind legs when in danger. Their horns serve them during conflicts between male individuals and are used to keep small predators away. Gazelles have excellent hearing and vision, which enables them to sense a predator or danger from a distance. This also serves them in searching for food and identifying territories. Today, the gazelle population is shrinking, mainly due to habitat destruction, paving of roads, illegal hunting, and capture by predators such as jackals, wolves, and wild dogs. In Israel in 1985, there was a breakout of foot and mouth disease, which wiped out roughly 1,500 gazelles. There are, however, regions of Israel with stable and even growing gazelle populations.
In Israel there are three sub-species: the Israeli gazelle, the Negev gazelle, and the Shitim gazelle, of which very few individuals remain, in the Arava region.
There is a visible difference between the sexes, as the male is larger, and his horns are longer than those of the female. Additionally, the male’s horns are thicker and have rings on them, while the female’s horns do not have rings. The gazelle’s coat has a grey-brown hue, while its belly is white. It has a short, black tail.
Photo: Shai Ben Ami