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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-14-07 02:58 PM
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World War II Bunkers Turn Into Wildlife Haven

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,507880,00.html

By David Crossland in Nettersheim, Germany

Attracted by the calm of long-abandoned machine gun posts, rare animals have been settling in the ruined bunkers that make up the Siegfried Line Hitler built to protect Germany's western border. Now wildlife groups are battling to stop authorities from bulldozing this giant legacy of the Nazi era.

http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,977557,00.jpg
Today, it has been conquered by nature too.


The Siegfried Line, the 630-kilometer network of bunkers Hitler built in a vain attempt to protect his western frontier from an Allied invasion, is finally serving a purpose six decades after the end of World War II -- as a quiet haven for wild cats, bats and a host of other rare species.

After the war the Allies blew up most of the more than 18,000 bunkers that made up what the Germans call the "Westwall." Since then, nature has conquered the ruins which now lie overgrown in the fields and forests of western Germany stretching from the Dutch border to Switzerland.

http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,977874,00.jpg
DPA

The Greater Mouse-Eared Bat (Myotis Myotis) enjoys sleeping in the cracks of the old concrete deep inside the Westwall Bunkers. Bats are strictly protected under international conservation rules. In some cases the German government ordered bunkers to be razed even though they were in designated wildlife conservation zones, says wildlife expert Schne.


This relic of the Nazi era was ignored by successive German governments until the 1960s and 1970s when regional authorities began ordering the removal of the concrete remains to make way for construction or farming, and to avoid compensation claims from walkers injured while climbing into them.

But wildlife groups have been battling to stop the bulldozers and have had some success, buying individual bunkers, reaching deals with local councils and getting regional authorities to halt the dismantling, at least temporarily.

"The bunkers have developed into wildlife islands over the last 60 years, they're a haven for animals," Sebastian Schne, a wildlife expert for BUND, the German section of Friends of the Earth International, told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

FULL story and 6 more photos at link.

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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-14-07 03:14 PM
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1. An interesting find, Omaha Steve. I hope the ruined bunkers can be
preserved.

Recommended :kick: #1
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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-14-07 03:59 PM
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2. Funny how death and destruction can be turned into beautiful harmony
with time. Time truly heals...
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