Why Humans Need Birds More Than Birds Need Us

Can you imagine a world without birds? Neither can I. Birds are incredibly beneficial for the humans and the Earth. Birds participate in a crucial role in the functioning of the world’s ecosystems, and behaviors that directly impact human health, ecosystems, and food production. Millions of species benefit and survive from bird habits

1. Birds Regulate Bugs

The House Swift bird is found in Japan, Nepal, Southeast Asia, and parts of North America.

Studies have reported that birds eat 400-500 million tons of insects a year. In China, two-thirds of the diet of a House Swift (Apus nipalesnis) consists of agricultural pests, and in forests across the Americas. During outbreaks of Spruce Budworm, which is bad for the tree, an Evening Grosbeak can provide biological control worth $1,820 per square kilometer. Birds are so useful that nest boxes have become a pest control practice throughout Europe.

2. Birds pollinate plants

The Honeyeater bird.
There is over 180 species of the Honeyeater bird and they are found mostly within warmer climates.

Birds are a source of pollination. Historically, butterflies and bees are what come to mind when discussing pollination. However, in South Africa, honeyeaters and hummingbirds provide an essential contribution to hot climates and high altitudes. The Salvia species plant does not have a scent, yet, they range in colors of purple, red and white, which attracts birds since birds favor sight over smell. Approximately a quarter of the Salvia species are bird-pollinated – around 5% of the plants’ humans use for food or medicine are pollinated by birds. If the birds go extinct, human food and medicine will also decline.

3. Birds are Earth’s natural “Clean-up Crew”

A vulture is a scavenging bird of prey.

Vultures are not particularly well-loved by humans. However, they are essential to keeping our ecosystem secure and clean by assisting in the ridding of dead animal and plant matter. Vultures eat carrion – the flesh of animals killed. Some species of vultures eat cartilage and bone from the deceased animal. The vultures’ diets help to speed up the decomposition process, which in return, aids in fertilizing the Earth.

4. Birds spread seeds

Berries are an irresistible sweet treat for birds, particularly in winter when food is scarce. The bird eats the seeds and drop them within new landmasses.

When birds take flight, they take the seeds they have eaten with them and disperse them through their droppings. They bring plants back to ecosystems that have been destroyed and even carry plants across the sea to new land masses. Birds have helped to shape the plant life we see around us – and the world.

5. Birds alter entire landscapes

Long Billed Curlew in the marshes.

Habitats like forests, marshes, and grasslands influence people globally, even those humans living hundreds of miles away. They store carbon, keep the climate stable, oxygenate the air, and transform pollutants into nutrients. However, without birds, many of these ecosystems may not exist. Birds preserve the subtle balance between predator and prey, plant, and herbivore. The Salt Marsh Periwinkle (Littoraria irrorata), in the salt marshes of southeastern USA, feeds upon the cordgrass in the swamp. If it weren’t for the bird predators such as oyster catchers, curlews, and plovers, these tiny snails would demolish the whole swamp leaving only mudflats.

6. One birds poop is another coral reefs food

A Seagull sitting on a rock near the Australian coast.

Climate change is a severe threat to many ecosystems across the globe. Coral reefs are one ecosystem that is particularly threatened by climate change. When the water temperature gets too hot for long periods, it kills the algae, which lives on the coral – providing food for the coral. As a result, the algae dies from the hot water, and so does the coral, due to no nutrients from the algae, resulting in bleached coral.

Having seabirds, such as Seagulls, that nest nearby the coral is beneficial to the reefs. The birds will fly out into the open ocean and eat fish or water bugs. During their flight returning to the islands, the birds will poop into the sea, fertilizing the plants and the coral reefs. This poop is full of nutrients from the food that the birds ate out in the ocean. The plants and fish that live in the coral reefs can then benefit from these nutrients that end up in the water around the reefs.

Conclusion

As humans we must take care of the flocks that soar through the skies. They bring us food, medicine, nutrients and provide the earth with a balanced ecosystem. Humans need birds for survival on the Earth’s soils.

Britain’s Carbon Emissions Have Declined 93% Since 2013

Before the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the British government had been taking action on reducing carbon emissions. 

The state had taken a significant step to reduce carbon emissions to a high degree. The British carbon tax lead to a 93% reduction in coal-fired electricity. A tax on carbon dioxide emissions in Great Britain, introduced in 2013, has led to the proportion of electricity generated from coal falling from 40% to 3% over six years, according to research conducted by University College London.

The British power which had been produced from coal is replaced with less-harmful emission such as gas. This decline in coal-generated electricity was substantial after an increase in the carbon tax during the year 2015. This report also declared the carbon tax, which is also known as Carbon Price Support, had been added at an average rate of £39, (USD 65) to the household bills.

Following The Carbon Price Support in Britain, it was employed in Scotland, Wales, and England at the rate of £4.94 (USD 6.06)/ton of carbon. Presently, the Carbon Price Support has been capped at £18 (USD 22.08) till 2021. The tax is one part of the Total Carbon Price, which also includes the price of EU Emissions Trading System permits.

The plan would have Britain reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI 

How to play your part in reducing carbon emissions 

1. Go Zero Waste

Going zero waste can be a significant step to combat climate change and to reduce carbon footprints. For this, you need to practice the essential 5 R’s of going zero waste. These 5 R’s are refuse, reduce, reuse, rot, and recycle. Make sure to do your best to follow these R’s as much as possible. 

2. Prefer Biking 

Traditional cars are putting out a lot of exhaust, which is polluting the air more rapidly. Vehicles are producing about one-third of air pollution all around the United States. The toxins emitted by cars are not only dangerous for the environment, but humans too. So, prefer to bike more and drive less to ensure fewer emissions of toxins in the air. 

3. Reduce Water Usage 

Now is the time to ensure conserving water and reducing water waste. There is only so much water on the earth, and we can never make more of it. About 96% of the water on earth is not usable. The remaining water is locked away in permanent snow, glaciers, polar ice, etc. So, the only thing we can do is to stop wasting water today so that we can use it tomorrow. 

4. Switch To Clean Energy 

Today is the time to switch to sustainable energy resources to save our planet. There are more methods to get sustainable energy in the present age. Solar and wind power are the most significant options to consider here. 

Climate change has become a vital reality; however, this is not unsolvable. There are plenty of steps that can be put in place to reduce carbon emissions. There is an abundance of things that can help us in saving our planet in the best possible way. Today is the right time to reshape our lifestyles and reduce our carbon footprints.

Norway Leading Plastic Waste Solution

Recycling and waste disposal continues to be a widespread problem, but all hope is not lost. Environmental awareness has been increasing, and with it, countries around the globe have been coming up with innovative ways to manage valuable resources and cut back on waste. And indeed these countries have proven that there are always new solutions around the corner. Sometimes we just have to know where and how to look for them. 

Northern Ireland, for example, began making extensive use of plastic carrier bags starting in 2013. Not only that, but their overall recycling efficiency has gone up in recent years, having just reached its all-time high of 51.5% of household waste being recycled. Many other countries have made progress of their own as well. Denmark too has been making significant progress in the amount of waste they recycle; they have made it their goal to reach a quota of at least 50% household waste being recycled by the end of 2020. 

Sweden, meanwhile, has been doing fantastic. So much so, in fact, that they have needed to import waste from other countries just to keep their recycling plants busy and productive. They also hold the distinction of having less than 1% of their household waste end up in a landfill, a feat they have maintained since 2011. 

Special acknowledgment must be given to Norway, who have mastered the process of recycling plastic waste. They have done so with the help of an organization known as Infinitum. Since 1999, Infinitum has been dedicated to the efficient depositing of plastic bottles and beverage cans, which is made possible through Norway’s national deposit scheme. Thanks to this process, Norway has been able to recycle 97% of all its plastic bottles. 

Norway recycles 97% of their plastic.

So why haven’t more countries done as well as Norway in that regard? One of the biggest problems is cost efficiency. Recycling old plastic tends to be more expensive than simply creating new plastic, hence it’s a contributing factor to why there’s so much excess plastic waste to begin with. It’s unfortunate, but understandable all the same. 

Norway, thankfully, has taken this into consideration. Their solution to the money problem is with money itself. Norway operates on a loan scheme, where a consumer buys a plastic bottle and is charged a small additional fee. This fee, however, can be redeemed. The consumer can either take the bottle to a machine which scans the barcode and returns the money, or else there’s gas stations and other shops which offer cash or store credit. 

Even with such high recycling efficiency, there is always room for improvement. Even with over 95% of all the country’s bottles being recycled, as high of a statistic as that is, it still leaves an estimation of 150,000 bottles that will not be returned this year. 

Still, Norway and Infinitum must be commended for the vast progress they have made already. It’s little wonder that other countries have reached out to Infinitum, hoping to adopt similar recycling plans for themselves. 

Sources: 

Amidst The Coronavirus Canada Starts a New Caremongering Trend

The world began to experience the Coronavirus, and fear began to spread. The media and politicians had been accused of “fearmongering” and spreading mass panic. Synonymously, America’s neighbor to the north reacted oppositely and is nothing less than expected. Canada began “caremongering,” a term that did not exist until just a few days ago. A movement that began in Toronto, Ontario, as a way to help vulnerable people; turned into action. Caremongering is spreading across Canada faster than COVID 19.

Within five days, more than 50 Facebook groups, consisting of 45,000+ members, have been set up coast to coast, across Canada’s great nation, to offer help to others within their communities.  Predominantly people who are more at risk of health complications related to Coronavirus.

These groups are offering food, aid, access to medical care, sidewalk snow clearing, and whatever else is needed to assist their neighbors during this uncertain time.

An act of kindness, as a result of the pandemic, has spread across Canada and the world.

In Spain, soup is being delivered to the elderly, in Italy, Italians are playing music from their balconies to uplift the people’s spirit, in the United States, hotels are giving free rooms to the homeless – to help them isolate, and the list goes on.

Canada has once again proven its stereotypes of kindness, humanity driven, and helping others is valid and has become a movement across social media and in their hometowns.

Mita Hans helped set up the first “Caremongering” group.

Mita Hans and Valentina Harper set up the first “caremongering” Facebook group.

Hans was quoted in a BBC article stating, “Scaremongering is a big problem. We wanted to switch that around and get people to connect on a positive level, to connect. It spreads the opposite of panic in people, brought out community and camaraderie, and allowed us to tackle the needs of those who are at-risk all the time – now more than ever.” She laughs before stating, “I had no idea thousands would follow.”

Hans continues to state, “Anxiety, isolation, and lack of hope affects you. In providing this virtual community that allows people to help each other, I think it is showing people there is still hope for humanity. We haven’t lost our hope.”

Canadians who have received the service are grateful. Assistance such as a mother in Ottawa was delivered food for her baby when she couldn’t leave the house, an elderly couple in Halifax had their medicine delivered to their home, a community in Prince Edward Island, gave grocery store gift cards to a woman who couldn’t work due to the Coronavirus, and the goodwill list goes on.

Each day more humans are joining these Facebook groups and helping their fellow humans. Isolation can bring loneliness and feelings of helplessness. Conversely, with these “caremongering” groups growing at a rapid pace, it shows that there are good people in the world, and if we stand together, we can make a positive difference in a time of uncertainty.

A massive thank-you to the “caremongers,” humans who brave the virus to keep us safe and the individuals who do selfless acts of kindness each day. You are all heroes!  

Keep sanitized, wash your hands, self-isolate, stay safe, and be kind to one another!

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively Donate 1 Million Dollars to Food Banks in Canada and The US

In these unique times, unexpected people are going above and beyond to give back during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Yesterday, on March 16th, the Hollywood couple, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively donated $1 million to charitable food bank organizations in Canada and the USA.

Reynolds posted about his charitable generosity on his social media. He tweeted, “I think we can all agree, Covid-19 is an a**hole. If you can help, visit, http://FeedingAmerica.org and/or http://FoodBanksCanada.ca,”

The tweet included a photo of a message which read:

Blake Lively also took to social media to inspire others to assist friends, neighbors, and family if they could. She stated in a comment, “Covid-19 has brutally impacted older adults and low-income families. Ryan & I are donating $1 million to be split between @feedingamerica and @foodbankscanada. If you can give, these orgs need our help.”

Check out her Instagram message here:

View this post on Instagram

@feedingamerica @foodbankscanada ♥️

A post shared by Blake Lively (@blakelively) on

She ended the tweet with a light comment, poking fun at her husband.

In response to the kindness and generosity of Reynolds and Lively, Dan Niset, the vice president of Major Gifts at Feeding America, responded by saying “We are so grateful for Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s extremely generous donation, and for all of the donations we’ve been receiving,”

He continued and stated, “The Feeding America network of 200 food banks is working tirelessly to aid and provide meal assistance to our most vulnerable neighbors — children, the elderly, families struggling with food insecurity and individuals facing job disruptions — throughout our nation during this unprecedented time. Generosity like theirs will make all the difference.”

Let’s help one another; we are all in this together.

An Enchanted Cathedral Created From Living Trees

Trees are typically cut and scaled to construct houses and buildings. However, in other areas of the world, living trees are used to build cathedrals and abodes for prayer.

An Italian artist, named Giuliano Mauri, had a vision of such architecture that consisted of a building and a natural landscape entwined together. He thought such it would be more elegant to build these materials as one, instead of tearing one down, to reconstruct another.

Image courtesy of Santino

From 2001-2002, Mauri initiated the laying of the foundations for the sentient tree cathedral, in Valsugana Italy. Sadly, before the temple was finished, Mauri passed away in 2009. However, shortly after his passing in 2010, his well-designed creation came to life. One day, the trees will grow up and together, form a vaulted canopy ceiling made entirely of tree branches and leaves.

Known as “Cattedrale Vegetale” (Tree Cathedral), this masterpiece living Cathedral is located at the base of Mount Arera, near the outskirts of Bergamo.

Image courtesy of Virtual Sacred Space

Although the construction of the Cathedral was completed ten years ago, it is apparent there is much development and tree growth required. In these images, you can observe the framework columns outlining the trees; these columns will eventually decay and rot away, leaving beautifully matured hornbeam trees as the only form of walls and ceiling.

Inside the framework, the hornbeam trees can be seen. There is still a lot of growth needed for their canopies to grow together. Once the canopies morph into one, they will form the spectacular vaulted ceiling of a Gothic cathedral.

Image courtesy of Pava

The living Cathedral consists of 42 different columns that form five aisles. The columns integrate 1,800 spruce trunks and 600 chestnut tree branches intertwined together with 6,000+ meters of hazelnut twigs. Local traditional methods of nails, a string for entwining, and weaving. were utilized to secure the columns around the trees.

Once the wooden columns decay and fall, the 80 hornbeam sapling trees will take over as the walls and ceiling, creating a truly organic, all-natural, and very alive cathedral.

Image courtesy of Ettore Galata Rizzardini

The Tree Cathedral occupies an area more than 90 feet long, is nearly 80 feet wide, and varies in height from around 16 feet to 70 feet. The entire area is approximately 650 square meters, and this creation took an abundance of time to assemble, and it still isn’t complete in the sense the trees have to grow and fill it out.

This living Cathedral grants humans a place to pray and practice their welcomed spirituality amongst nature, and not in a square-framed building.

A special thanks is dedicated to Mauri, who was born in 1938 in Lodi Vecchio, Italy. The late artist developed a reputation for his natural architectural creations. Mauri created other natural architectural designs as well, such as the vegetable Bridge at the Castle of Padernello, completed in 2008.

The Tree Cathedral is acknowledged as one of the world’s most impressive forms of “natural architecture.” The incredible site stands as an inspiration to everyone to incorporate nature into more aspects of human life. We must take care of this planet and her life, which she creates. The Earth is home to all living things, and we must share it.

Image courtesy of Riccardo Senia
Image courtesy of Pierangelo Zavatarelli
Image courtesy of Il Giardino Sfumato

Endangered Gorillas Pose For Pictures With The Park Rangers

Some people dedicate their entire lives to saving nature and endangered wildlife.  Rangers at The Virunga National Park, in the DRC, are some of these humans who will restore your faith in humanity. Ranger Mathieu Shamavu’s now-viral photo shows him posing with two gorillas who live in the National Park, safe from poachers or any armed conflicts that may affect their well-being.

Virunga National Park is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site and is maintained by more than 600 anti-poaching rangers. Historically, this area had been profoundly affected by armed conflicts and war-like situations, which left a significant negative impact on the populations who inhabited the region, and the animals living in the surrounding area. Unfortunately, the gorillas in the animal kingdom had been killed due to traditional medicine, food, and the bushmeat trade. Rangers are fighting to protect these poor animals, and their incredible bond is visible in the photos.

Female gorillas pose with their anti-poaching park ranger.

To be employed, the rangers must undergo intense training to ensure the rangers’ and gorillas’ safety in this dangerous job, which aims to protect the park’s endangered species. This park chiefly survives on donations from the public. A kind donation of $150 can feed an orphaned gorilla for two weeks. Smaller donations are also accepted and can be used to purchase boots for the rangers and provide safe facilities to the endangered gorillas.

The rangers find this job to be a rewarding and challenging task since the animals show their complete trust for the Rangers, which is observed in the photos.

Gorillas playing with their anti-poaching ranger.

Note that, Virunga National Park is home to 22 primate species, 78 amphibia, 109 reptiles, 706 bird, and 218 mammals. Almost a third of the endangered mountain gorillas population throughout the world live in this park. Daily, rangers fight to keep the wildlife safe. Unfortunately, 179 wildlife soldiers have lost their lives while protecting these animals.

“There is a bond that ties us together. A relationship that is very, very close between the guardians and the gorillas,” says Andre Bauma, the manager of the Senkwekwe Centre. The rangers and the gorillas display an unconditional love towards one another at the Virunga National Park.
The park had been founded in 1925 to defend its rich biodiversity; the region has the presence of the last 880 mountain gorillas. In 1979, it was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and has created a mesmerizing example for human beings around the world. 

Peru is Planting A Million Trees Around Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, which means “Old Mountain” in the Quechua language indigenous to the area, is at the top of a lush mountain and was built during the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1471). It lies around 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Andean city of Cusco, the old Inca capital in southeastern Peru. It was rediscovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1983.

When Machu Picchu was rediscovered over 100 years ago, it was called the “Lost City” because the jungle had swallowed it, which protected it from being destroyed during the Spanish conquest. When the forestation was removed, the ruins were revealed. According to the site’s official website, some scientists believe Machu Picchu was used as an astronomical observatory, indicated by the Intihuatana stone that indicates two equinoxes a year.

Due to natural composition and extensive usage of the land, the area is at risk of mudslides due to heavy rainfall in winter and forest fires in summer.

In 2017, the government imposed limitations on how many tourists are allowed to visit the site. Now Peru limited visitor numbers to just 6,000 a day in two waves, which will be able to travel up the Sacred Valley to the Old Mountain every day, and some of the more vulnerable areas have been closed to free-venturing individuals.

This decision was made as a precautionary step towards protecting the heritage site from fear that Machu Picchu was being loved to death; around 1.5 million tourists were visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site every year, causing damage to the structures and the surrounding area.

Macchu Pichu in Peru

Along those lines, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra launched a campaign to reforest the Machu Picchu archeological site to protect it from mudslides and forest fires.

President Martin Vizcarra had pledged to plant one million trees in the 35,000-hectare protected archaeological complex that features the stunning Inca citadel. “We’re here to begin the planting of a million trees in the protected zone around the Machu Picchu sanctuary,” President Martin Vizcarra said.

The Machu Picchu estate, which includes three distinct areas for agriculture, accommodation, and religious ceremonies, is the most iconic site from the Inca Empire that ruled a large swathe of western South America for 100 years before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century.

President Martin Vizcarra said the ambitious target of one million trees is “a commitment from the government, the region, the municipality, and all the citizens who want to protect this world wonder.” Environment ministry specialists evoked the need to plant trees to protect not only the sanctuary but also the protected ecological area’s fauna and flora. The World Heritage site is at risk of mudslides due to heavy rainfall in winter and forest fires in summer.

How To Help Rainforests End Deforestation

Tropical rainforests are disappearing from the face of the planet rapidly. Regardless of growing international concerns, rainforests are being destroyed continuously at a rate exceeding 32,000 hectares every day. The tropical cover is now standing at 2 billion hectares, and this area is about the size of China and the United States together, representing about 13% of the whole planet. However, much of this area is impacted by the activities of humans. Due to which it is not retaining its complete original biodiversity anymore. 

Deforestation is not only painful for humans, but it is also severely impacting our ecosystem through significant services lost and species extinction. However, we can pay attention to our regular activities to stop or reduce this deforestation. There is still time; this situation can be reversed. More people now agree that this problem must be remedied. But the process is not as simple as just banning timber trade or fortifying fences around remaining rainforests. Each human has to play their part to save the remaining tropics. 

How can humans stop rainforest deforestation? 

1. Choose environmentally responsible products

Humans can make a massive difference in the fights to save rainforests by making informed choices regularly. Whether it is about using less stuff or going for environmentally responsible products, everything little thing counts. 

Environmentally friendly products

2. Use coals

About 2 billion people around the world are relying on firewood to heat their homes or cook their food. More often, this is happening in the villages near forests, and people are cutting down the trees for fuel before the tree has a chance to grow and regenerate. Such mismanagement can lead to the total disappearance of forests. 

At times, it may be better to use charcoals instead of firewood to make a fire. The use of coal can aid in the goal of fighting deforestation, and this fuel also burns longer. 

Fire and coal

3. Prefer recycling 

The increasing demand for paper products, furniture, and fuel are also threatening forests around the world; it is essential to recycle. You may have noticed a label somewhere “made from recycled products.” This label can be found on various products of everyday use, such as egg packaging, bags, paper, and even furniture. Be conscious when making purchases to decrease the need for cutting down trees. 

Recycled wood furniture

4. Fund rainforest conservation efforts

It is a vital fact that conservation efforts are never going to be cost-free. If you can donate and have researched the company to ensure they are legit, make sure to fund these efforts to encourage the fights against deforestation. 

These are examples and are not being promoted. Please do your own research before donating any money.

5. Plant a tree

Take a moment out of your day and plant a tree or a 100 that is native to your area, in a safe location, where the tree will not be cut down or removed.

Planting trees.

Final Opinions 

The solutions to discourage rainforest deforestation needs to be feasible. Because overly idealistic approaches can never encourage someone to start thinking about this. However, the steps mentioned above will undoubtedly play an essential role in this process. So, make sure to adopt these in your lives.

Wolves Are Returning To Germany After More Than A Century

Across much of Europe, wolves had been heavily persecuted for attacking livestock. They were wiped out in Germany during the 19th century. However, in the 1980s and 1990s, new European laws protected wildlife and habitat, setting the stage for their recovery. And in eastern and southern Europe, abandoned farmland meant fewer people and more deer for wolves to hunt. In the late 1990s, wolves began to dart into Germany from the forests of Poland. They’ve since spread westward into six more of Germany’s 16 federal states, and monitoring data show their numbers are rising.

Wolves are an impressive success story for wildlife recovery in central Europe, bouncing back from near extermination in the 20th century to a population of several thousand today. And in Germany, where communities have been growing by 36% per year, military bases have played a surprisingly central role in helping the animals reclaim habitat, a new analysis finds.

“What is remarkable is that the military areas acted as a stepping stone for the recolonization — and were far more critical than civilian protected areas in the early stages of recovery,” says Guillaume Chapron, a wildlife ecologist at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, who was not involved in the research. It shows that when you strictly protect wildlife, it comes back.”

The population growth “is quite impressive,” says Ilka Reinhardt, a biologist with Lupus, the German Institute for Wolf Monitoring and Research in Spreewitz, who has been involved in efforts to study the wolves since they returned to Germany.

This wolf was photographed in a wildlife park in Germany.

The latest data suggest the country has 73 packs and 30 pairs of wolves. “Twenty years ago, no one would have expected this,” Reinhardt adds, noting Germany’s fragmented habitat and the prevalence of roads and humans. “It shows how adaptable wolves are.”

Their occurrence, particularly in military areas, struck Reinhardt. She and her colleagues noticed that the first pair of wolves to show up in a new state always settled on an army training ground. The second pair, and usually the third, also sought out military lands.

The military training grounds were a desired location for the wolves
Reinhardt could find no sign that habitat was better there than in nature reserves, as measured by the amount of forest and density of roads. But when they compiled the death records, they were shocked to find that wolf mortality rates were higher in protected areas than in the military training grounds.

The difference seems to be poaching. Therefore, The German government has announced plans to convert 62 disused military bases just west of the Iron Curtain into nature reserves for eagles, woodpeckers, bats, and beetles.
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said: “We are seizing a historic opportunity with this conversion — many areas that were once no-go zones are no longer needed for military purposes.

“We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature.”
Together the bases are 31,000 hectares — that’s equivalent to 40,000 football pitches. The conversion will see Germany’s total area of protected wildlife increase by a quarter.

The Green Belt stretches more than 7,760 miles, along the line of the former Iron Curtin, where decades of minimal human activity let the wild take over. Now it serves as an essential migration route for wolves, bears, and lynxes by linking green spaces.