Soviet Deer Herds and Pluie the Wolf

Great article in The Atlantic looking at the legacy of physical Cold War divisions manifest through spatially divorced migratory patterns in otherwise identical deer populations:

“Behavior learned at the height of the Cold War lives on among the herds that roam land that used to straddle the former Czechoslovakia and West Germany. The once heavily fortified borders separating East from West today traverse national parks and remote landscapes that serve as popular summertime migratory destinations for the imposing beast.

In the spirit of post-Cold War fellowship, Germany’s Bavarian Forest National Park and the Czech Republic’s Sumava National Park established a transboundary wilderness area where animals like the red deer could find refuge. But as it turns out, the deer populations on either side of the former Iron Curtain roam along the border and remain reluctant to cross.”

I can’t begin to imagine the bureaucratic gymnastics necessary to successfully designate and develop a wilderness area across a national boundary. But I wonder if at least one staffer took a meeting  similar to a fictional pitch on The West Wing where conservationists urged policymakers to create an 1800-mile-long “wolves-only roadway” between the U.S. and Canada on behalf of Pluie the wolf. Glad it worked out better for the deer.


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