Preserving Wildlife in the DMZ

The demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea has become one of the world's most important wildlife conservation sites.
November 27, 2008, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"Established after the 1953 Korean War cease-fire (the two nations are technically still at war), it is the most dangerous and heavily militarized border in the world."

"The de facto wildlife preserve encompasses 390 square miles of diverse terrain virtually untouched by human development for 55 years. Now, as this accidental Eden faces major development pressures, a growing contingent is pushing for its establishment as a transboundary nature park – which could also be a step toward peace between the two Koreas."

"'This strip of land contains almost every type of ecosystem you can imagine,' says Alan Weisman, author of "The World Without Us." 'It has inadvertently become one of the most important wildlife conservation sites in the world.'"

"Urban sprawl in the South is the biggest threat to DMZ wildlife. For decades, South Korea kept a 3- to 12-mile-wide buffer along the 155-mile length of the DMZ. The low-population Civilian Control Zone (CCZ) is an invasion precaution, but the easing of tensions in the last decade has led to major development there."

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Published on Friday, November 21, 2008 in The Christian Science Monitor
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