The Protected Forest
There is a forest.
Its magic is tricking those that read about it. Yet, it’s still not fictional and a writer was not inspired to create this land. Oh, there is a forest. The Dadia forest in Soufli of Evros.
A question arises when the location is mentioned. How is a forest near a small village? This forest is of great importance and it was not put there by anyone’s choice. But it is its place and Greek people have taken care of it, in a way, unlike any other care you’ve ever seen put in natural woodland.
It is noted, it is written and legally it is a bind that this forest is unique. There is a variety of birds of prey and animals that live here. Their lives begin and end here, uncaged. It is an environment that belongs to the animals freely. Eagles, vultures, wolves, among others. In fact, the number reaches now up to 50 species of mammals. This variety of animals in natural order lives here unbothered by humans as the area is largely and strictly protected. There is a hired grouped community of people that are responsible for the entirety of the Dadia forest.
It is not an area where we could go wherever we want to and scare the animals with a picture. It is not a place where the animals are pushed back so we can build constructions or drive with our cars. Absolutely not. It is an area where hunting, touching, poking, yelling at the animals is not happening. It is prohibited. Safe from human interruption and interaction.
My personal opinion? I love it. The workers have my utmost respect.
But, it is still a forest. And still discovered by people. There are some allowances held in place. You can still visit. As a visitor. As an outward appearance without playing a hand in how the animals should behave.
I have visited for education practices with a school. I’ve visited three times in my life actually.
What do you see in the forest?
Your first glimpse of an untouched environment. With its genuine hierarchy when the vulture will eat the cow. When the eagles are catching their prey. Next, the wolves run freely among the hills. And the deer are in packs finding food with the first light of the sunset.
I have seen it from the observational spot. I have seen a vulture dive so fast at its prey that it was over before I knew it. Nobody will coddle you when you catch sight of the true nature of these animals. But you learn. The staff there educates you.
This forest, as I said, is unique. It is the only forest in Europe where all four European species of vulture can be seen. All four native European species of vulture, the black, bearded, Egyptian, and griffon vultures are found here.
How do they live there? It is a shelter. Their lives are protected and kept safe. They do not become a hunter’s prized victim.
According to the people working there, the golden eagle does live there. He has stayed where he is safe. That’s where they grow and their species lives on. I did not have the pleasure to see an eagle in flight.
I think the wild animals have discovered this forest. A sense of peace and a place where they are not a show. It is almost like a musical script the way things ended up bonding. The variety of wild animals is there, offering to the thousands of kids that visit every year an unfiltered large view of information. But it was not scripted. People that work there and are responsible for it made it happen.
Continuing down the trail of the forest, where the 40 species of reptiles slither around finding leftover food is the flora.
The heart of the forest, if the soul is the animals. Because Dadia is still a forest, a greenery masterpiece that welcomes the animals.
It is a forest of oak trees, pine trees, and a torpedo variety of bushes. There are three species of oak trees. And cherry trees that embrace the sniffing animals. Some trees do grow there every year. Some are born in the spring. What can you do with nature? You can simply admire. It is a wild Eden.
Specifically, it is a rich forest. Rich in history, rich in lives, rich in value.
Sadly, the latest news is that the people taking care of the 73,000 acres were disbanded by the Greek government. I have no comment and I have no disappointment in my heart. I only look forward. With faith and appreciation. The forest will live and people, good people will never stop. We have not run out of good people. There is always another birth, of a good soul, that wants to protect what should always have been protected.