The following data are comprehensive finding from several field trips conducted in Al Makhrour Valley from the year 2018-2019 for the Fauna including (Reptiles, Amphibians, Mammals, Insects, Land snail and Scorpions), Mushroom, and Threats, including our survey in 2021. Field trips conducted in Al Makhrour Valley to continue for the second assessment for biodiversity and area conservation. 4 field trips done in 2020 at the exact dates that field trips conducts in 2018 for placing Sherman traps, night traps, and camera trap, other field trips in random days happened to collect several groups of fauna (insects, snails, and others), Moreover; several field visits done related to Mushroom collection.
Mammals: Sherman taps, camera traps, and night field visits done in 2020 to study the mammals fauna in al Makhrour and several results comes up like new data collecting and some species did not observed in the area were found in 2018, and new species observes in the survey of 2020 as the table shows.
Filed trips done in 2018 for mammals survey shows Sherman traps used and the found materials.
29.8.2018: 10 Sherman traps Caught 4 rodents in 2 species: Apodemus, Acomys
5.9.2018: 20 Sherman traps Caught 7 rodents in 2 species: Apodemus, Acomys
20.9.2018: 21 Sherman traps Caught 5 rodents 2 species: Apodemus, Acomys
12.10.2018: 24 Sherman traps Caught 9 in 2 species: Apodemus, Acomys
In 2020 survey
28.8.2020: 10 Sherman Traps: 1 spine mouse, other 10 traps around the area with (2 apodemus, and 3 spiny mouse)
3.9.2020: 20 sherman traps used and only one spine mouse
21.9.2020: 22 Sherman traps: (Apodemus 3, Acomys 2), in close area we use 7 traps with (Apodymus 2, Spiny Mouse 1)
12.10.2020: 30 Sherman traps: Apodemus 11, Acomys 5, Dipodillus dasyurus 1, Mus musculus 1
This is a curious finding indicating increase in rodent population and diversity. Either explainable by habvitat improvement or by decrease in predators like owls and raptors.
We did record hyenas using camera traps. The ghyena situation was monitored and reported on separately in a research paper (see Handal et al. 2019). Golden Jackals were observed with population of 5 individuals.
Table 1. Mammals of the valley. Note bats were identified strictly by echolocation data.
|Family||Scientific Name||Common Name||2018||2020|
|Erinacidae||Erinaceus europaeus||European hedgehog||X||X|
|Soricidae||Crocidura leucodon||Bicolored White-toothed Shrew||X|
|Pteropodidae||Rousettus aegyptiacus||Egyptian fruit bat||X|
|Rhinopomatidae||Rhinopoma hardwicki||Lesser Mouse-tailed Bat||X||X|
|Rhinopoma microphyllum||Greater Mouse-tailed Bat||X||X|
|Vespertilionidae||Pipistrellus kuhli||Kuhl’s Pipistrelle||X||X|
|Pipistrellus (Hypsugo) savi||Savi’s Pipistrelle||X||X|
|Pipistrellus pipistrellus||Common Pipistrelle||X||X|
|Otonycteris hemprichi||Hemprich’s long eared bat||X|
|Plecotus christiei||Long-eared plecotine bat||X|
|Rhinolophidae||Rhinolophsus ferrumequinum||Greater Horseshoe Bat||X|
|Rhinolophus hipposideros||Lesser Horseshoe Bat||X||X|
|Molossidae||Tadarida teniotis||European Free-tailed Bat||X|
|Emballonuridae||Taphozous sp||Egyptian Tomb Bat||X||X|
|Muridae||Apodemus mystacinus||Eastern broad-toothed field mouse||X||X|
|Acomys cahirinus||Spine Mouse||X||X|
|Dipodillus dasyurus||Wagner’s gerbil||X|
|Rattus rattus||Black Rat||X||X|
|Hyaenidae||Hyaena hyaena||Striped Hyena||X|
|Bovidae||Gazella gazella||Mountain Gazelle||X||X|
|Canidae||Vulpes vulpes||Red Fox||X||X|
|Canis aureus||Golden Jackal||X||X|
|Felidae||Felis sp.||Wild Cat||X|
Table 2: Most common bats at certain recording dates
|28 Aug 2020||Pipistrellus kuhlii|
|03 Sep 2020||Eptesicus bottae|
|21 Sep 2020||Eptesicus bottae|
|12 Oct 2020||Pipistrellus kuhlii|
Reptiles and Amphibians: In the beginning of the project we detected few species of reptiles and amphibians in Al Makhrour Valley, but in the survey of 2020 we found 5 species to add to our list, from our perspective we think more species are in the area but need other methods to observe them and collect, but what is important that some species that consider in bad status detected to have birding in the area (Mediterranean tortoise) which increase the important of Al Makhrour area as a place for wild animals to breed and kept in their natural habitat. The red-listed threatened spur-footed tortoise seemed to be doing well in the valley both in 2018 and 2020 (Fig. 5)
|Family||Scientific Name||Common Name||2018||2020|
|Lacertidae||Phpenicolacerta laevis||Common Lebanon||X||X|
|Ophisops elegans||Elegant lizard||X||X|
|Testudinidae||Testudo graeca||Mediterranean tortoise||X|
|Gekkonidae||Hemidactylus turcicus||House Gecko||X|
|Phyllodactylidae||Ptyodactylus guttatus||Fan Fingered Gecko||X|
|Scincidae||Ablepharus rueppellii||Snake eyed Skink||X|
|Chalcides ocellatus||Cylindrical Skink||X|
Scorpions: Scorpion kept the same with three species, especially around the agricultural areas in Wadi Al Makhrour and the trails, the most dominant species that we found in both 2018, and 2020 in the Scorpio maurus. This also indicate that human interaction with the environment did not affect the environment and the habitat in Wadi al Makhrour, especially in the spring water area, scorpions are sensitive for urbanization and could detect human affects (Olivero et al., 2021).
Land Snails: All Land snail were collected from AL Makhrour area with a total of 16 species.
Granopupa granum, Buliminus labrosus, Paramastus episomus, Pene bulimoides, Euchondrus septemdentatus, Euchondrus chondriformis, Eopolita protensa jebusitica, Sphincterochila fimbriata, Monacha obstructa, Monacha syriaca, Monaca crispulata, Metafruticicola fourousi, Xeropicta krynickii, Levantina caesareana, Levantina lithophaga, and Helix (Pelasga) engaddensis.
Flora and Mushrooms: We published a recent paper on orchids which shows these species as present (many are locally threatened): Anacamptis papilionacea subsp. Palaestina, Anacamptis pyramidalis, Neotinea maculata, Neotinea tridentate, Ophrys iricolor, Ophrys cf. libanotica, Ophrys lutea var. galilaea, Orchis anatolica, Orchis galilaea Need data from Roubina for plants and from our paper on mushrooms
Threats: Al Makhrour as the last green area in Bethlehem District and as a key biodiversity area is facing a lots of threats that could affect it environment and biodiversity, the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability team studied the area through out several field trips to indicated the threats facing the area (see table XX), this table shows all threats that we found in 2018 and in the survey of 2021, our team did several workshops for key stakeholders and locals around the Valley to reduce threats, signs related o biodiversity placed in the valley o shows visitors the important of the area and to keep it safe.
The most threating facts happened in the Valley is the changing of the natural look by the land owner which lead to environmental consequences (Fig 6), that could lead to change the rain water gathering area, bring invasive species (fauna and flora) from the outside soil, changing the soil chemistry from the outside stones that used to build the stone walls.
|Plowing the land in destructive ways||X||X|
|Farming infrastructure (stone walls and farm roads)||X||X|
|Use of insecticides/pesticides||X||?|
|People digging for heritage stuff||X||–|
|Too many unregulated visitors to the area||X||X|
|Occupation activities: walls around Al-Walaja and Khader||X||X|
|Occupation activities: residential Jewish settlements and their attendant infrastructure||X||X|