We arrived at the Hula Valley Nature Reserve, at which some of the Hula Valley’s wetlands have been preserved. The Reserve was established in 1964 to protect what remained of the local wetland animals, many of which had died out when the Hula swamps were drained in the 1950’s to create land suitable for agriculture and to eradicate the malaria-carrying mosquitoes of the area. The Reserve is also a stopover site for thousands of migrating birds from Finland to Ethiopia and back in spring and fall. Food is put out for them to help them on their way and so that they don’t damage local crops near the lake.
Below, we are getting on the special bus = pulled by a tractor — that will take us around the park so we can get a good view of the birds without disturbing them.
This little animal is called a Nutria (AKA Coypu), a rodent similar to a beaver. Often grown on fur farms in South America, they were imported to Israel in the 1950s; some escaped and established themselves in the Hula Reserve.