Iron Curtain Still Exists— for Deer

Czech, German animals stay on their own sides of the border

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 24, 2014 10:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – Czech and German deer are way behind when it comes to international politics. The creatures won't cross the Czech border with what used to be West Germany, despite the fall of the Iron Curtain, a study of 300 red deer finds. Researchers used GPS collars to track the deer movements and found that "the border still plays a role for them and separates the two populations," the lead author tells the BBC.

It's particularly interesting given that, with lifespans of 15 years, the deer who are currently in the area weren't around when the Iron Curtain existed. There were once electric fences on the border, the BBC notes. As fawns, deer are thought to learn their range by following their mothers, experts believe; perhaps the political boundaries have been passed down through the generations. "I don't think it's a surprising result. These animals are really conservative," a scientist tells the AP. (Another fascinating recent animal study identified the source of an ocean "quack" that had been baffling scientists for 50 years.)

Red deer are behind when it comes to international politics.   (Shutterstock)
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