Grace Under Fire

A collaboration between upper Galilee base commander of the Israeli Border Patrol Vivian Hirsch and the staff of KKL-JNF Acclimation Center at the Hula Lake helped rescuing a wounded stork.

On Thursday morning, while making its morning patrol at the Hula Lake, upper Galilee base commander of the Israeli Border Patrol Vivian Hirsch noticed a white stork hang upside down from a tree. The stork's legs were caught between two branches, and as a result it could not release itself, and wounded itself with each new attempt.

Hirsch called the workers of the Wildlife Acclimation Center in the lake, Nevo Ring and Tomer Tzimend, who quickly arrived at the scene, but ran into a problem – the stork got stuck on a very high tree. They did not give up, and after parking their car under the tree, they climbed a roof and released the stork.

The stork was then hurried to the center's infirmary. After a thorough examination, no fractures were discovered, but only light wounds at the edges of its wings.

Dr. Rhona Nadler Valency, a veterinarian and the center manager: "The stork arrived with light wounds to the leg and the wings, but was in great pains. When long-legged birds like storks are in stress, their muscles are damaged, and further damage can be caused with further stress. For this reason, we worked to provide it with quick treatment while staying as quiet and calm as possible to avoid making it worse and allowing it to recover quickly."

The stork was kept in a large cage with food and water, away from humans, to minimize the stress caused to it, as it was not used to human presence. After a few day, it showed signs of recovery, and the center's staff decided it was ready to be released. The released stork flew nicely back to the lake, and after an hour was spotted by the staff members as it joined a group of white storks flying north to the nesting sites in Europe.

Nevo Ring, a volunteer at the center: "Seeing the stork returning to nature and flying so nicely after being injured and spending time at the cage is certainly a touching event, one that cannot be taken for granted. Taking part in the healing and releasing of such a noble bird, and helping it return to full health is a great privilege."

Inbar Shlomit Rubin, field manager at the KKL-JNF Hula Lake: "In these complex times, when uncertainty is everywhere, nature provides us with healing and relief. It's good to know that we can do some good to the birds. The KKL-JNF Hula Lake is one of the most important habitats in Israel and across the birds' migration axis. It is an important resting spot for the migrating birds between Africa, Asia and Europe, in both the richness of food it offer different species and in providing the birds with safe haven during their long voyage."

צילום: ויויאן הירשPhotograph: Vivian Hirsch