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Pundits have said that the crisis between Russia and the West over Ukraine is a symbol of a new Cold War. There's been much talk about old dividing lines: Russia has been accused of building a new Berlin Wall, Vladimir Putin has said he doesn't want another "Iron Curtain."
But did you know that those old Cold War boundaries are actually still dictating lives today?
Here's how. Straddling the border between the Czech Republic and Germany lies the largest protected wildlife zone in Central Europe. During the Cold War (when that border was between Communist Czechoslovakia and Capitalist West Germany), it was heavily fortified with electric fences.
Just as people were physically divided, a large herd of deer was split apart. A recent study of deer population used satellite tracking to follows the movements of 100 red deer, 50 in Germany and 50 in the Czech Republic. The fences have been gone for a quarter century and the land is open for migration, but researchers found the new generation of deer still respect the boundaries of the iron curtain.
According to the scientist who led the project, biologically it would make sense for a mountain range to be the natural barrier between populations of deer – not this invisible fence. But mothers pass on to their young a sense of where it is safe to go. The electrified fence was a no-go, and these habits live on a generation later.
Perhaps the deer are teaching us all a lesson – it can take a lot longer to break down barriers than to put them up.