Sunday set: Thayatal National Park

Biodiversity along the river …

At about 3,280 acres, Thayatal National Park, in northeastern Austria, is pretty small compared to the vast reaches of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or Rocky Mountain national parks. But the deep river valley that forms the border between Austria and Czechoslovakia is rich in biodiversity. Because the Thaya River was part of the Cold War frontier, the forests in steep canyon were relatively undisturbed for decades. Biologists have tallied 1,300 species of plants in the park. Rare bird species like the black stork and horned owl make their home in the dense beech forests. And that’s not all — bobcats, once extirpated across most of central Europe, are making a comeback and biologists have tracked a few of them in this area. New efforts to create wildlife movement corridors in Austria include building vegetated highway overpasses to connect larger areas of good forest habitat. That may enable bobcats to gradually recolonize larger parts of their former range. Read more Summit Voice stories about national parks here.

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