At the Biblical Zoo, we maintain a place of respect for Israeli animals mentioned in the Bible.
When the Biblical Zoo was established by Professor Aharon Shulov, it was his vision to create a space where residents of Israel would be able to meet Israeli and Biblical animals up close.
Over time, the zoo expanded, as did its variety of animals, but there remains an emphasis on local animals, most of which appear in the Bible. Some have become extinct from the landscapes of the country, and some remain.
“And the Lord God formed from the earth every beast of the field and every fowl of the heavens, and He brought [it] to man to see what he would call it, and whatever the man called each living thing, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19)
The field of Biblical zoology research was developed by Israeli researchers in the 20th Century. One of them was Yehuda Feliks, who wrote about identifying Biblical animals. He writes in his book The Animal World of the Bible - a Book of Biblical Zoology, (Sinai Publisher, 1945) about identifying animals from the Bible:
“Prophets of Israel spoke of a nation living on its land and rooted in the land’s nature. They often used parables from the world of fauna and flora. The parable’s subject, the animal or plant, was familiar to the listener and helped him to understand its meaning. However today, the opposite is true. We understand the parable more than we understand its reference to the animal or plant. Thus, we are unable to decipher the depth of what’s written, if we cannot understand both parts of the parable as one. The Bible’s beautiful chapters of nature cannot be properly understood without acquaintance with the animals and plants of which they speak…
As a result of the Nation of Israel’s disconnect from the nature of its land and the tradition of the names of the animals in the Bible, it is clear that we will be unable to identify them today with certainty. We were assisted by ancient peoples and the archeological discoveries of animal sculptures, drawings, and writings. But we mainly depended upon the descriptions of the Bible itself, as well as the literature of the Sages, the Talmud, and the Midrash.”
You are invited to visit the zoo and see the animals of the Bible come to life!
“And a wolf shall live with a lamb, and a leopard shall lie with a kid; and a calf and a lion cub and a fatling [shall lie] together, and a small child shall lead them. And a cow and a bear shall graze together, their children shall lie; and a lion, like cattle, shall eat straw. And an infant shall play over the hole of an old snake and over the eyeball of an adder, a weaned child shall stretch forth his hand.” (Isaiah, 11: 6-8)