Wiener Journal – In search of wilderness

For some, wilderness means the Amazon rainforest, for others the park around the corner. Neither party is wrong, but there is plenty of other wilderness in between – Marc Graf and Christine Sonvilla have set out to discover it. The two have been roaming Central Europe for years in search of the last (almost) untouched spots of nature, but are primarily looking for traces of brown bears, wolves and lynxes, but also other rare animals. And they struck gold, especially in the national parks. They all agree: Central Europe is getting wilder again.

Again and again individual brown bears migrate to Central Europe - and disappear again ... - © Christine Sonvilla, Marc Graf / Knesebeck Verlag
Again and again individual brown bears migrate to Central Europe – and disappear again … – © Christine Sonvilla, Marc Graf / Knesebeck Verlag

Forests that are left to their own devices, unspoilt rivers, mountains without hikers and climbers – they still exist, and they offer the big predators a new home. But their return polarizes – they are either loved and their return is defended tooth and nail, or they are hated, feared and, in the worst case, poached. But togetherness must be possible, which is why Sonvilla and Graf want to use their book to create greater public awareness of nature and species protection issues.

“The wild heart of Europe” is more than a photographic report, the well-founded texts and breathtaking images show the current and controversial subject of nature conservation and economic interests and raise the question of whether wilderness is even needed in Central Europe.

The latter can be answered simply: Yes, we need it, because it satisfies the longing in us for our own wild side, our origins and our eternal search for freedom. And it is an opportunity for a healthy ecosystem in balance. We just have to let it happen?

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