Koreas: DMZ zone refuge for endangered species



An entirely unexpected collateral good that arises from the DMZ zone between North and South Korea is a refugee zone for endangered species. It is as an article in Al Jazeera puts it a green ribbon of hope.

The DMZ is home to many species that are either entirely extinct or endangered in the rest of the peninsula. The zone has become the center of attention for those on both sides of the DMZ and even overseas who are intent on preserving the Korean natural heritage.

The Korean natural heritage has been destroyed by over a century of occupation, conflict, and economic development. The Japanese occupation between 1905 and 1945 led to massive deforestation, pollution and a general environmental decline. THe 1950-53 Korean war added to the environmental mess. However, rapid economic development since has also degraded the environment.

Created in 1953 the DMZ has provided sanctuary for many species for half a century now. Almost 100 species of fish, 45 types of amphibians and reptiles and more than 1000 insect species are thought to inhabit the zone. There are constant reports of rare species being spotted in the zone.

Many worry about the future of the zone should the Koreas reunify. Moves are being made to ensure that the zone remains a nature preserve.

Already a crane preservation area is being developed along the Han River estuary. The South Korean government has designated an area a national monument in 1976. A second conservation area has been the result of international cooperation by scientists in Japan, North Korea, and elsewhere and has been approved by the North Korean government.

Many groups are trying to have the DMZ recognised as a permanent reserve and cultural site. Scientists from North and South Korea, Japan and the U.S. have all worked together to help preserve the DMZ so that many animal species can live safely in the area. Surely it should be possible to humans to live in the areain safety as well. For much more detail see the entire article here.

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