Palestine Wildlife Initiative
Palestine Wildlife Initiative is a project launched by Mohammed Mar’i, an award-winning Palestinian photo-journalist working in the Gaza Strip, in conjunction with award-winning syndicated columnist Ray Hanania to raise funds to document all of the Palestinian plant, insect and animal species in Palestine.
The funds we raise will be used specifically for a high resolution camera, and 8 high-resolution lenses, plus the cost of maintaining a website on its own server for 10 years.
Mar’i will begin photographing and then indexing by species each and every plant, animal and insect and Hanania will place the photographs in a soon-to-be-launched website.
The purpose is to document and preserve Palestinian heritage and culture and prevent it from being erased by the conflict with Israel.
You can donate to Palestine Wildlife’s Campaign to raise funds to purchase new photographic equipment
using this link. Click here
Palestine Wildlife Initiative (PWI)
Proposal for Funding of Supplying Equipment
Prepared by PWI 2019
TABLE OF CONTENTS……………………………………………………………. 2
1 – SUMMARY………………………………………………………………………… 3
2 – INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………… 4
5 – BIOGRAPHY OF organizer……………………………….…………………… 5
3 – NEEDS/PROBLEMS/CHALLENGES…………………………………….. 6-7
4 – GOALS/OBJECTIVES…………………………………………………………. 8
5 – PROCEDURES/SCOPE OF WORK………………………………………… 8
6 – TIMETABLE………………………………………………………………………. 8
7 – BUDGET……………………………………………………………………………. 9
8 – Examples of my previous work………………………………………9-14
Since its occupation of Palestinian territories in June 1967including West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, Israel didn’t pay any attention to the deteriorating situation in the environment in occupied territories. Whereas Israel established Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel since the state of Israel was created in the year 1948, it as an occupying power didn’t applied the same laws in Palestinian territories to protect the nature and the wildlife. The mentioned society tours he natural reserves all the year to protect them. It prevents the citizens of Israel and tourists from harming the plants, bird and animals. Those who do not abide by law face heavy financial fines and even imprisonment. In Palestinian territories, it closed its eyes on crimes against nature. It didn’t punish who hunted endangered birds like goldenfinch and Partridge, animals like deers. Those who picked the endangered medical herb the Sage also were not asked. Also those who have cut olive and oak trees which age hundreds of years for the purpose of heating were not asked. Meanwhile, Israel bought old olive trees some of them of more than thousand years old to plant them in areas under its jurisdiction as part of its political efforts to convince the world that the Jews in the holy land before Arabs and this is the proof, old olive trees. Also, as the power that controls the Palestinian territories, Israel allowed easily the import of US-made Roundup herbicide raised and subsequently some species, such as butterflies and bees, have joined the endangered species red list in lieu of the use of these toxic and often misused chemical materials. The situation has not changed dramatically since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the year 1994. The long period of occupation and the bad behavior of Palestinian citizens against the nature need such our project to highlight the dangers the nature and wildlife face and therefore protect the endangered species. This will help the Palestinian Authority in its mission.
The birth of Palestine Wildlife Initiative PWI: The organizer, in partnership with two Palestinian experts on nature, has been voluntarily documenting plants, birds, and wildlife species in various areas of Palestine in order to disseminate information and display high quality photographs and become a scientific reference for researchers, students, and interested readers.
About organizer Mohammed Mar’i: After this photographer and nature lover arduously convinced the principal of one elementary school in a Palestinian village to organize a field trip for children to introduce them to the wonderful world of nature, it became a trend for other schools in Palestine to follow suit. Considering that most Palestinian schools take trips to amusement parks or to the beach, it was not only a personal achievement for the organizer but a victory in the name of protecting wildlife by educating the youth, aka the future generation, about the necessity of caring about life other than human beings because they were taught that animals and plants can be loved because they all contain a soul and have a unique beauty. The devastating reality of not knowing about this pertinent subject yielded to PWI.
Objective: This passion project aims to raise awareness about the dangers that surrounds wildlife in the State of Palestine. By documenting nature, we hope this advocacy will be viewed as a lobbying effort that will ultimately persuade the government to take substantive steps and advertently issue laws that protect endangered species and plants in Palestinian society.
I approached a friend who teaches photography at a Malaysian university and asked him to help in defining the professional photography equipment needed for the documentation project. He gave us a list of the equipment including the most suitable camera and lenses to produce high quality image and then to publish it with the Explanatory scientific information. The problem we are facing is buying the equipment due to its expensive price.
BIOGRAPHY OF organizer Mohammed Mar’i: A photographer and nature lover. Photography is my favorite and beloved hoppy since my childhood. I used to borrow a camera from my friends to capture photos during picnics and school journeys. Later in my life I bought a camera to continue with my hoppy. In the year 1998 I got the chance to be member of Palestinian team to get training in France Financed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. My training was in the field of media and journalism. For my luck photography was part of the training program. I and the French colleagues were trained by French photographer Marc PAYGNARD. He is a professional photographer who worked for National Geographic in what he described at the time “Mission Impossible”. It was the training course that moved me to professionalism. He encouraged us to pay great attention to the nature around us and help save endangered species. Later in my life I got another opportunity to develop my photography skills in accordance with technical changes in this field. In France we were trained on manual cameras and films. Nowadays, the cameras are digital and use sensors instead of films. A Japan-based Jordanian Photographer Mahmud Al- Mahmudinvited me to be a member of a group of photographers from several Arab countries to take a one-year online photography training course. I became more lover of nature since part of the course was to take photos of wildlife including animals, birds, insects and plants. Unfortunately, my modest camera didn’t allow me to take high quality images and mainly animals and birds which need telephoto lenses to capture the. My financial situation didn’t allow me to buy them since they are very expensive. I do not waste every leisure time to hike the mountains. I find many species of plants, animals and birds that need to be saved. This motivated me to organize the project (Palestine Wildlife Initiative) with my two colleagues
The problem we face to translate this project into ground and to become a reality is to find a donor to finance the purchase of the photography equipment we need at the first stage of the project which we will start at two natural reserves in the West Bank (below the plans of the two reserves). At this stage, we do not want any budgets for the work since we are volunteers. Once the project sees the light and we plan to expand it to other reserves in Palestinian territories. This will be the second stage of the project. It will need budget for transportation or even a special vehicle for the project to move to the reserves easily. Once we reach this point, we will submit for an accurate budget for it. Israel declared the two areas as natural reserves named Wadi Sarida in red and Wadi Qana in green. The announced purpose is natural reserves but the fact on ground is to confiscate the thousands of dunams in these reserves, which are located in Area C according the Oslo Peace Agreement, for the expansion of Jewish settlements in the areas. Every reserve is currently surrounded by five Jewish settlements. We hope that the project will let the world see the Israeli intentions in Palestinian territories. Whereas it deprives Palestinians from using these lands since they are under its security and administrative jurisdictions, it frees the hands of Jewish settlers to expropriate these lands and expand their settlements against the international law.
There are several goals and objectives for this very important and non-profit project.
Some of those goals/objectives are listed below:
- To enable us to launch the project and safe endangered species in nature.
- To contribute to the preservation of nature and wildlife from the deliberate effacement pursued by the Israeli occupation which works with great efforts to cancel their Arab names and replace them with Hebrew names and even consider them symbols of Israeli state.
- To educate and build a new generation in schools and universities and who we can reach in social media outlets to love nature and cares about it.
I, Mohammed Mar’i, the person behind the idea of the project, will tour the two reserves mentioned above. Since I am a photographer, I will take high quality images for plants, birds, animals. My two colleagues will provide me with the scientific details about these images. We plan to design a special website for the project to publish our material. We plan also to use other social media outlets to publish the material. These means are the most professional and low cost means to reach the target. Unfortunately, the Arab society lacks the culture of reading printed material like books, magazines and brochures. We plan to organize photo shows in cooperation with schools and universities.
The duration period is unlimited to ensure that all photos for all kinds in Palestinian nature have been taken.
Depending on previous experience; these are the equipment needed for the project.
Camera Nikon D850 (3570)
1 – NIKON 14-24mm 2.8 G ED AF-S (1,853)
2 – Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED AF-S (1,730)
3 – Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 G ED AF-S2 (2,400)
4 – Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 APPO EX DG (30,000)
5 – Nikon 800mmf/5.6E FL ED VR (20,800)
6 – Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED (2,319)
7 – SD 64 GB (55)
8 – Bag for Camera and Lenses (152)
9 – Tripod for Camera MANAFORTO BEFREE (152)
$ – 63,031 dollars for supplying the needed equipment
$ – 3,000 dollars for designing a website for the project.
$ – 66,031 dollars the total.
My late Father used to pick this plant every year in spring and bring it home for us and relatives to eat the fresh leaves. He used to say it is good for liver due to its ingredients and taste. It took me several months to locate it in specific areas in the mountains surrounding my village. I took this photo and posted it on my Facebook page with the name and information I knew from my father and elderly in the village. My friend who will be part of the project. He provided the scientific information about the rare and endangered plant (Caralluma europaea) and the shocking information is that it should not be eaten because it is poisonous. This is another motivation for launching the project. To know what is surrounding us.
People in our society kill this type of snakes (first image) which carry the names (Coluber nummifer, Hemorrhois nummifer) for fear that it is poisonous. The one which is poisonous and may kill its victim within twenty minitues if he does not receive the proper injection is called (Daboia palaestinae). They are somehow similar in the appearance but different on ground. My colleagues said that killing the first type which is safe for humans badly affect the ecological balance since the first type attacks and kills the second type which is poisonous. Hence, we intend to educate locals that their behavior is against nature and increases the poisonous type of snakes instead of decreasing them.
This is another example that motivated me and my colleagues to plan the documentation project. In my childhood, I as other children and even elderly men and woman used to collect this flower (Hyoscyamus muticus) which grows between the stones of old buildings to suck its sweet and delicious nectar. When I took this photo of it and posted it on my Facebook page, my colleague said this behavior completely wrong and even dangerous. The person who sucks its nectar may lose his consciousness. So we want to let people know these facts.
Letter from Mohammed Mar’i:
I am Palestinian photographer, besides my duties in the office of chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, interested in documenting Palestinian nature, especially its plants and animals, so as to contribute to its preservation from the deliberate effacement pursued by the Israeli occupation which works with great efforts to cancel their Arab names and replace them with Hebrew names and even consider them symbols of Israeli state.
I, in cooperation with two Palestinian experts, work voluntarily to document the plants, birds and wildlife species in various areas of Palestine. We are working to spread the information through various means in order to become a scientific reference for researchers, students and interested readers.
We have reached a stage in the documentation project so that we became in need of financial support in order to buy photography equipment (the sum of 9000 US dollars). This will enable us to take professional and high-quality images that will allow the students and researchers to distinguish between wildlife species.
The Palestine Conflict is about land ownership and everything on that land. And Palestinians need to struggle and work hard to protect that heritage of plant life identification, animal life identification, insects, and all aspects of Palestine’s environment and landscape.
We hope you can help.
Mar’i is seeking to purchase the necessary camera equipment to allow long-range, detailed photographs to document each species of bird, animal and plant.
The goal is $70,000 US Dollars. (Professional camera equipment is expensive but is essential to producing a high quality product that documents for the future all of the plant and animal life in Palestine’s environment.
Mar’i needs your help to complete this project. Some of the funds will be used to create a website where all of the photos and data will be stored for free public access.
Watch this site for the campaign to raise funds to begin this project.
In the meantime, here is more information about Mohammed Mar’i and his dream:
Here is a preview of some of the wildlife that exists in Palestine: