Wild Europe 4 of 4 A New Millennium

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Host » 12am - Jul 23, 2012
Europe is home to more than 700 million people, most of them city dwellers. Much of its wildlife has suffered as a result, but efforts are underway to protect and reintroduce some species. Others have exploited new opportunities offered by man-made environments. In Rome, the first metropolis on the continent, winter tourists watch swirling clouds of starlings flocking over the city. Buildings and structures have replaced caves and cliffs as preferred perches and nest sites for some birds, including kestrels and white storks. On a nearby landfill site, griffon vultures and red foxes forage and scavenge food. Wildlife and people are coming into contact more often. Joggers in the woods around Budapest often encounter wild boars, while farmers in the Carpathian Mountains live alongside Europe's biggest populations of bear, wolf and lynx. These predators were hunted to extinction in Western Europe, but are now returning, aided by green corridors such as the European Green Belt and wildlife-friendly development. Beavers have also returned in large numbers due to protection and the clean-up of Europe's polluted rivers. A chemical spill in the 1960s killed all the fish in the Rhine, but now there is a project to reintroduce Atlantic salmon to the river. There are, however, new dangers. Invasive species such as Chinese mitten crabs, Asian long-horned beetles and Japanese knotweed threaten the native flora and fauna. Climate change could also have a dramatic effect on the continent, but Europe's natural history has experienced many such changes in the past
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