BMBJMO-coverA Bear in My Bed & A Jackal in My Oven

Adventures of an Israeli Wildlife Zoologist

by Avinoam Lourie and Cissy Shapiro

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“It was one of those cold winter days in Israel. At the time, I was working as director of the Wild Animal Protection branch of the Nature Reserves Authority of Israel. …I saw (along a road) that there were two young jackal puppies, one very stiff and dead, and the other huddled very close to the dead body of its mother for warmth; its tail moved slightly as a small sign of life.

“…Although jackals aren’t considered cute, when I see a very young animal that is very weak and going to died, I can’t ignore it. I’m sure that anybody would do the same thing for such a helpless creature.

“I quickly pick up the tiny jackal and put her under my shirt (even though she was quite dirty); and I drive home as fast as I could.

“(with all the stores closed on the Sabbath) Sometimes, like a bolt of lightning, I get an idea. This time, I remembered that we had a kind of stove (oven) with a special Sabbath warmer that keeps food warm on a low heat on the Sabbath (so religious people won’t have to turn it on).

“I turned on the Sabbath ‘switch,’ waited for the oven to warm, took the young jackal from under my shirt, put it in the oven, and went to my car to go and get special goat’s milk and a combination of other ingredients…that I thought would be a good recipe for ‘a little jackal’s dinner.’

“I went to a small, nearby kibbutz, where they had a few goats. I milked one of them and went back home quickly—the milk was till warm.

“When I opened the door to the house, my wife was standing there…’ We can’t go on like this!’’ she said. ‘I went to put some chicken in the oven, and when I opened the over door, I heard a strange sound, a whimper—and then I saw a creature’s head moving—and then a yelp, and then I nearly fainted.’”

“How many can say they’ve had a Syrian bear in their bed? Warmed a jackal in their oven? Been gored by a jealous roe deer? Attacked by a tiger? Had monkeys swing from their chandelier? Or lost a snake on a plane? Avinoam Lourie has. Here are heartwarming, entertaining and educational experiences of Israeli zoologist, Avinoam Lourie, told with the typical warmth, wit, and wisdom for which he is known. Lourie was a recipient of the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor; selected one of ‘Top 100 Important People’ in Haifa; helped bring back several endangered species to Israel.”
“His work is an important milestone for nature conservation in Israel.”

—Dr. Eliezer Frankenberg, Former Chief Scientist of Israel’s Nature Reserves Authority, Jerusalem, Israel

“As someone who has accompanied Avi into the field as he educated new generations of Israelis about their native ecosystems, it’s a joy to share the drama, humor, and insights packed into this riveting collection which other readers are sure to enjoy.”

—Sneed Collard III, Author and Publisher

“Many of our friends had dogs, cats, and other pets, but no one had a father who brought home a tiger, bear, or even a monkey, like we did.”

—Dr. Barak Lourie, Avinoam’s son