Fish and Aquatic Wildlife
Fish live in the three segments of the river, in the clean segment it is possible to find the Yarkon’s unique Breams, Catfish, Carp, Eels, Pangasius and Gannets. In the Yarkon’s salty segment there are large amounts of Kipon (Mullets), Eels and Tilapia near the river’s banks in areas with stone infrastructure and hiding places. In addition to the different fish, you can find different species of invertebrates, insects, bugs and worms.
The common fish in the Yarkon are:
Waterfowl and birds
Along the river live many species of waterfowl and birds, some year-round and some winter birds. The prominent year-round ones are Waterhen,Night Herons and Pied Kingfishers. Wintering in the Yarkon are different species of herons: Large Egerts, Little Egrets, Gray Heron, Cormorans and Common Kingfishers. Around the river, in the vegetation and trees live crows, kestrels and many songbirds. In the area are also a number of invading species, the most prominent of which is the Myna, a species from the starling family that experts believe came from the Safari. The Drara, a type of parrot, is also an invading species that has spread all over the country.
Birds in the Yarkon area- a short guide:
Turtles are the main reptile in the Yarkon River’s ecosystem. Softshell turtles live in all parts of the Yarkon, including the salty one, as well as swamp turtles in the sweetwater and reclaimed water parts. The Yarkon has 11 turtle slopes, these slopes make it easier to monitor the turtles’ egg laying. The Yarkon River Authority is participating in a survey conducted by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority regarding softshell turtles in the Yarkon area, as part of a national survey of the softshell turtle. The survey monitors the number of nests in and around the river in order to assess the size of the population. In 2020, 17 nests of softshell turtles were located in the Yarkon, marking an increase compared to the sampling done a year prior.
The main large mammals living along the Yarkon are the Coypu (nutria), who feed off of the plants in the river’s water and on its banks. The Nufarim Pool got its name due to the fact that the coypu eats most other submerged vegetation, including the Blue Water Lily that once grew in the area, leaving only Yellow Nufars. In the area up the stream there is an undefined population of swamp cats and occasionally one can find porcupine quills.
There have been a small number of sightings of swamp cats in the Yarkon area in the last 30 years. The swamp cat serves as an indicator, as it is the top predator of the area, therefore its presence signifies a healthy ecosystem in the Yarkon River. This period is its parturition season- and we look forward to seeing the next generation as well.