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Germany Is Letting Animals Invade Its Old Military Bases So They Become Wildlife Sanctuaries

The German government recently announced their plans to turn 62 disused military bases west of the Iron Curtain into nature reserves for animals such as eagles, woodpeckers, bats, and beetles as well as rare birds.

“We are seizing a historic opportunity with this conversion—many areas that were once no-go zones are no longer needed for military purposes,” said Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.

“We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature.”

It’s a great idea that demonstrates how to recycle spaces and create opportunities for nature to renew itself—but it almost didn’t happen. The government initially played around with the idea of selling the land off as real estate. But luckily, they made the right choice and decided to add the land to what is known as the European Green Belt.

The addition will see Germany’s total area of protected wildlife increase by a quarter.

“In the remoteness of the inhuman border fortifications of the Iron Curtain nature was able to develop nearly undisturbed,” a spokesperson from The European Green Belt told The Independent. “Today the European Green Belt is an ecological network and memorial landscape running from the Barents to the Black Sea.”

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