Antelopes as soldiers -- cont.

Published 28 January 2009

In Vietnam, the United States used Agent Orange to defoliate jungles and deny the Viet Cong cover; in northern Israel, the IDF uses antelopes to eat the foliage to deny Hezbollah fighters cover

We wrote the other day that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uses trained antelopes to eat away the dense foliage along the Israel-Lebanon border (27 January 2009 HS Daily Wire). The purpose is identical to what the United States did in Vietnam with Agent Orange: to deny the adversary the foliage cover for its fighters.

We have more details about this new-old (or is it old-new?) weapon: The IDF is using eight African antelope, each weighing about 1,100 pounds. Haaretz reports that the animals, known as “elands,” were introduced to Israel from east Africa in the 1970s to be placed in zoos. When these animals “impressive chewing abilities were discovered,” the animals were recruited by the military. “The elands eat tremendous quantities and do a wonderful job clearing the weeds at enormous or secret military installations, and in places were there are ammunition storerooms, where the fear of fires is greater,” Yossi Ben tells Haaretz. “In these places the elands save on manpower and obviate the need for spraying chemical herbicides.” There are now “between 500 and 700 elands” at military bases throughout Israel, according to the paper.