The Negev Desert’s 400 meter-deep “small crater” (HaMakhtesh HaKatan) has been officially designated by the Israeli government as a nature reserve, joining Ramon Crater and Big Crater which have already been declared.
The document declaring the 61 million-square-meter area, considered “the most perfect of the Negev craters,” as a nature reserve was signed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, according to Ynet.
The process was complex, because some of the area is located within the site of the Israel Nuclear Research Center facility, which required long, drawn-out negotiations between the center and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
The deal maker, however, came when seven eagles appeared in the sky and flew in an arc above the heads of the negotiators as they were touring the area to discuss the matter.
“They came to an understanding of how powerful an impact this place has, and how important it is,” said Gilad Gabai, an official with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
Ironically, it’s because of the quiet and isolation resulting from the protection surrounding the nuclear center that endangered species are drawn to the site. Because it’s a closed area, it’s considered a no-fly zone: as a result, no flights are allowed to disturb the nesting eagles and other animals.