|Home in the Danger Zone|
Korea is the only divided country in the world. After the Korean War (June 25 1950 – July 27 1953), South Korea and North Korea established a border that cut the Korean peninsula roughly in half. Stretching for 2km on either side of this border is the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
In the past half century, the Korean DMZ has been a deadly place for humans, making habitation impossible. Only around the village of Panmunjeom and more recently the Dong Bukbu Line on Korea's east coast have there been regular incursions by people.
This natural isolation of the DMZ has created an involuntary park which is now recognized as one of the most well-preserved areas of temperate habitat in the world.
Several endangered animal and plant species now exist among the heavily fortified fences, landmines and listening posts. These include the extremely rare Red-crowned Crane (a staple of Asian art), and the White-naped crane as well as, potentially, the extremely rare Korean Tiger, Amur leopard and Asiatic black bear. Ecologists have identified some 2,900 plant species, 70 types of mammals and 320 kinds of birds within the narrow buffer zone. Additional surveys are now being conducted throughout the region.