Germany is converting 62 former military bases into wildlife preserves, encompassing more than 76,600 acres and offering a quiet reprieve for species living in the forests, meadows and marshes of the zones. These creatures include the lesser spotted eagle, middle spotted woodpecker, bats, beetles and other ecologically important species.
"The fortified borderlands that separated communist and capitalist Europe became accidental nature reserves during the Cold War. Many of these areas are now part of the European Green Belt , a chain of habitats that runs from Norway to Turkey," reports The Huffington Post.
"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."