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. EU launches Alpine flora and fauna protection plan

by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) Nov 4, 2008
The European Union has launched a cross-border programme to protect the 30,000 animal species and 13,000 types of plant in the Alps, it was announced Tuesday.

Chris Walzer, coordinator of the ECOCONNECT programme, told reporters in Vienna that the programme had a budget of 3.2 million euros (4.15 million dollars) over three years.

It covers EU members Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, plus Switzerland, and has 16 associated states, both EU members and non-members.

Walzer, a researcher at Vienna's veterinary university, cited bears in the Slovenian Alps as a threatened species, saying that every year 20 were killed by cars, trucks or trains during their migrations.

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