The Israeli military and the Israel Nature and National Parks Authority are cooperating on a new project that will teach soldiers how to preserve nature while on duty. Every paratrooper will get a pocket guide, teaching them how to collect garbage left around in national parks; which animals are protected and how to deal with civilians stealing endangered plants.
A pocket guide will be given to every soldier, teaching them how to protect flora and fauna in some of Israel’s national parks, covering the same areas where they are otherwise trained in combat.
“The idea is a result of a dialogue between us and the Israeli Defense Forces ,” said Uri Kiser of the nature authority who is heading the initiative. The pocket guide that will be published soon will include a basic list of names, pictures and descriptions of protected wildlife in the paratroopers’ training areas.
The pocket guide starts with: “Dear Officer/Soldier. During your stay in this area please keep the following rules of conduct for preserving the nature and environment for future generations.”
The guide also reads: “Back-packs, chains, bullets, batteries and left over foods – have many ramifications: water pollution, spreading diseases, harming animals that have eaten the left over foods (cans, plastics, etc.) and creating a dependency by the animals on the person providing the food.”
Besides asking for the soldiers’ help protecting their furry neighbors in their training areas, they will also help catch those illegaly picking wild plants and flowers for commercial use.
“In the past few years we have been dealing with an increased phenomenon of people stealing plants for commercial use. The soldiers who are always out there in the field can call us if they identify people stealing wild flowers and plants that are in the pocket guide” said Kiser.