Former Iron Curtain still barrier for deer

April 23, 2014 by Karel Janicek
In this picture taken near the town of Harrachov, Czech Republic, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 deer cross a creek in a winter enclosure. The Iron Curtain was traced by a real electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier _ and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it still is. Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical fence came down a quarter century ago, with the painful Cold War past apparently still governing their behavior, new studies show. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

The Iron Curtain was traced by an electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier—and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it still is.

Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical fence came down a quarter century ago, new studies show.

Czechoslovakia, where the communists took power in 1948, had three parallel electrified fences, patrolled by heavily armed guards. Nearly 500 people were killed when they attempted to escape communism.

Deer were also victims of the barrier. A seven-year study in the Czech Republic's Sumava National Park showed that the original Iron Curtain line still deters one species, , from crossing.

"It was fascinating to realize for the first time that anything like that is possible," said Pavel Sustr, a biologist who led the Czech project. Scientists conducting research on German territory reached similar conclusions.

The for deer is 15 years and none living now would have encountered the barrier.

"But the border still plays a role for them and separates the two populations," Sustr said. He said the research showed the animals stick to traditional life patterns, returning every year to the same places.

"Fawns follow mothers for the first year of their life and learn from them where to go," Sustr said.

In this picture taken near the town of Harrachov, Czech Republic, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 deer cross a creek in a winter enclosure. The Iron Curtain was traced by a real electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier _ and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it still is. Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical fence came down a quarter century ago, with the painful Cold War past apparently still governing their behavior, new studies show. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Wildlife officials recorded the movement of some 300 Czech and German with GPS-equipped collars which sent data to computers.

"I don't think it's a surprising result," said professor Ludek Bartos of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, who was not involved in the research. "These animals are really conservative."

In this picture taken near the town of Harrachov, Czech Republic, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 a stag crosses a creek in a winter enclosure. The Iron Curtain was traced by a real electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier _ and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it still is. Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical fence came down a quarter century ago, with the painful Cold War past apparently still governing their behavior, new studies show. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)


In this picture taken near the town of Harrachov, Czech Republic, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 stag walks in a winter enclosure. The Iron Curtain was traced by a real electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier _ and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it still is. Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical fence came down a quarter century ago, with the painful Cold War past apparently still governing their behavior, new studies show. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

In this picture taken near the village of Kvilda, Czech Republic, on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 the reconstruction of Iron Curtain stands in the Sumava National Park. The Iron Curtain was traced by a real electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier _ and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it still is. Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical fence came down a quarter century ago, with the painful Cold War past apparently still governing their behavior, new studies show. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

In this picture taken near the village of Kvilda, Czech Republic, on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 the reconstruction of Iron Curtain stands in the Sumava National Park. The Iron Curtain was traced by a real electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier _ and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it still is. Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical fence came down a quarter century ago, with the painful Cold War past apparently still governing their behavior, new studies show. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Explore further: Amazon says to open two Czech centres

Related Stories

Amazon says to open two Czech centres

October 22, 2013

US online giant Amazon said Tuesday it would open two distribution centres in the Czech Republic by the end of 2014, a month after its German employees went on strike over pay.

Cattle respond to magnetic fields from power lines

March 16, 2009

(AP) -- High-voltage power lines mess with animal magnetism. Researchers, who reported last year that most cows and deer tend to orient themselves in a north-south alignment, have now found that power lines can disorient ...

Recommended for you

Major advance in the understanding of the transport of RNA

January 17, 2017

Messenger RNAs bearing the genetic information for the synthesis of proteins are delivered to defined sites in the cell cytoplasm by molecular motors. LMU researchers have elucidated how the motors recognize their mRNA freight.

Ants need work-life balance, research suggests

January 16, 2017

As humans, we constantly strive for a good work-life balance. New findings by researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology suggest that ants, long perceived as the workaholics of the insect world, do the same.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.