Mellivora capensis Schreber (1776) Ratel, Honey Badger
Hebrew name: גירית דבש, girit dvash
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: EN (D) – Endangered
Distribution area: Ilani (1979) identified four separate subpopulations in the 1970s (see Historic distribution). Except for a few isolated records (such as the Carmel coast, central Jordan Valley and Nahal Zenifim) most observations are from these four subpopulations. In the 1990s observations were recorded from the northwestern Negev, probably resulting from the expansion of the Judean Lowlands subpopulation. Israel is located at the northwestern limit of the honey badger’s global distribution area.
Historic distribution: In the 1970s four separate subpopulations were identified (Ilani 1979):
1. In the Western Galilee, south to the Akko-Zefat road (and dubious observations from the Upper Galilee).
2. In the Eastern Upper Galilee, the Hula Valley and the Golan Heights.
3. In the Judean Lowlands, from Bet Horon and Sha’ar HaGay to Lakhish.
4. In the Northern Arava, in the Hazeva area.
Typical Habitat: Diverse habitats, from vegetation rich wadi beds in the arid desert, to batha and Mediterraniean woodland.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
2. Poisoning and hunting by bee farmers, because of honey badger damage to beehives.
Population Size: Ilani (1979) estimated the Israeli population in the 1970s at 45-85 individuals.
Fluctuations in Population Size: Unknown.
Isolation between Subpopulations: There seems to be fragmentation between the subpopulations.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation: Constructing many wide road underpasses. Culverts should be designed with elevated ledges providing “dry” passage for wildlife.