IDF recruits antelope to guard northern border

January 28, 2009 - 4:26 PM by

AntelopeIt seems that every week that the Israeli army is recruiting another member of the animal kingdom. The first was of course, Oketz, the combat canine unit, actually predates the IDF and founded in 1939 as part of the Haganah, the paramilitary organization that was a precursor to the Jewish State’s current army. During the last Lebanon war, the IDF used Llamas to schlep heavy loads. Success? Depends are who you want to believe. Back in 2006 the World Tribune reported that they were becoming an integral part of special forces.

After extensive tests, the uncomplaining work-horse animals were found to easily out-perform donkeys. What’s more, they need refueling only every other day. Military sources said the Israel Army plans to use llamas for reconnaissance and combat missions in enemy territory, Middle East Newsline reported. They described the llama as ideal for special operations missions in Lebanon against the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. “The llama is a quiet and disciplined animal that can carry huge loads,” a military source said. “Vehicles make noise and need roads and fuel. We’ve tried donkeys and they are not suitable for such missions.”

Though this piece in Salon from 2008 tells a different, albeit somewhat funny (and kind of sad) story.

The commander, Tal, tells me that during the last Lebanon war the Israeli army tried using llamas to carry the heavy loads needed for combat. But the experiment failed. “They ran right off to the Hezbollah fighters with our stuff,” Tal says. “We had to shoot them to keep our things from falling into the hands of Hezbollah.”

The latest recruit is the antelope – Eland antelope to be exact. No, they won’t be spending their time escorting elite commandos but rather do what they do best – grazing. Military bases have been using them for years to clear away shrubbery efficiently. Now a group of them have been placed in between the security fence and the international border to clear foliage so that the IDF will have a better view of the Lebanese side of the border reports Ha’aretz.

“They eat huge quantities of weeds, they are the D9 of weeds,” Ilan said, referring to the massive bulldozers the IDF uses to clear enemy territory. “They clean problematic areas, open trails and a view and prevent fires.”

I think the Navy should recruit sharks with laser beams attached to their heads.


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