Mikulov, South Moravia, Aug 9 (CTK) – A former military training ground in the Palava protected landscape area (CHKO) has been granted the status of a natural landmark with 40 strictly protected animal species, mainly invertebrate, CHKO Palava chief manager Jiri Kmet said in a press release on Tuesday.

The new rare locality spreads on 50 hectares northeast of Mikulov, a town close to the Austrian border.

Kmet said it owes its wildlife diversity to being a military ground in the past, which provided suitable conditions for a variety of species ranging from those that prefer landscape with vegetation to those living on bare or almost bare ground.

Kmet said the CHKO management will try to preserve the unique diversity of the local environment.

The locality probably hosts the biggest population of the Estern eggar, a rare moth protected all over Europe.

In addition, about 40 bird species live there. The hoopoe, whose strongest Czech population nests in the neighbouring Milovice forest, favours the military ground as an abundant feeding ground.

The natural landmark status goes to important smaller localities influenced by humans.

CHKO Palava was established on the area of 83 square kilometres in 1976, with valuable vegetation of rock and meadow steppes and and forests growing on the limestone slopes of the Palava mountainous range.