Is Europe “exotic?”

In 2010, a team of European nature photographers set off on 135 missions to explore the continent’s most spectacular natural habitats. Their expedition lasted a total of 1100 days, spanned 48 European countries, and produced thousands of stunning images of wildlife and animals. An outdoor exhibition featuring a selection of their most capturing photographs, which has been making its way across Europe, is now coming to Berlin.

The “Wild Wonders of Europe” organization is passionate about spreading one simple message: that Europe is a bastion of biodiversity and that its natural beauty has long been underrated. According to the group, too few people know about the success of conservation projects such as “Natura 2000,” a European-Union wide initiative to protect natural habitats, which has succeeded in attracting animals that were formerly under threat, back to their original homes.

“These aren’t your typical postcard pictures” Florian Möllers, communications director of the project told Capturing wildlife in its natural surroundings requires patience and tenacity. “There is always an uncertainty factor,” says Möllers. “You cannot stage nature.”

The traveling outdoor photography exhibition, featuring some of the most interesting images from the quest, has to date visited Holland, the Czech Republic and Denmark and will come to Berlin tomorrow (May 22), where it will stay until the end of July. The display will feature 110 photographs from all 48 European countries and will be presented on panels outside the central train station, where they can also be viewed lit up at night. Among the photographs are several high-quality marine images, which organizers hope will draw attention to over-fishing, which Möllers describes as a “major crisis.”

Photographer: Markus Varesvuo

Berlin, with its vast open spaces, is ideal breeding ground for threatened species, according to Möllers. 10-12 pairs of cranes have returned in recent years and raccoons have been spreading rapidly in the city, sheltering mostly in garages, boat sheds, shacks and on private allotments. One male racoon even chose to nest for six months in the carpark of a hotel on Alexanderplatz square, in the east of the city. The city’s history has had a big influence on its wildlife. The hunting grounds reserved for dignitaries brought a large stock of game animals to the city: at Potsdamer Platz in the west of the city, foxes and rabbits are known to roam. Wild boars populate suburban areas and one bold boar was even spotted close to the Alexander Platz square.

The opening of the exhibition will coincide with The United Nations International Day for Biological Diversity tomorrow. The German environment minister, Norbert Röttgen, who resigned last week had been due to inaugurate. The United Nations has officially named 2011-2020 the “decade for biodiversity”.

Photographer: Solvin Zankl

You can read more about Wild Wonders of Europe here.
You can read about how to make smart and ethical choices in your fish purchases here.