They are called four-spotted chaser, red-eyed damselfly, southern skimmer or white-faced darter – these and 38 other dragonflies and damselflies have been found by scientists in the recultivated sections of the opencast mines Ville, Frechen, Berrenrath, Bergheim, Fortuna, Frimmersdorf, Garzweiler, Hambach, Zukunft and Inden - a sizeable number, which the recultivation research centre documented when these insects were mapped in 2003.
Seven species more than in the previous year were sighted by the scientists, including the small red damselfly, which is threatened by extinction, or damselfly species like the Mediterranean hawker, which is not even at home in Germany, since it prefers the warmer climes of the Mediterranean.
While they were at it, our scientists also shed light on the natural enemies of the dragonfly – frogs and toads. A total of 13 species, they found, were splashing about in lakes, ponds and the retention basins created on the terrain of the former opencast mines.
Help for hares
In another environmental project, RWE addressed the needs of the brown hare. Between 2001 and 2004, the recultivation research centre took part in the state-wide initiative "Hilfe für den Hasen" (Help for the hare). This help is sorely needed, because the brown hare in North Rhine-Westphalia has been on the Red List of endangered species since 1994. Natural enemies, from eagle to fox, and, above all, a lack of habitats to suit the species had been threatening the hare since the 1980s. So, in recultivating the Fortuna-Garsdorf opencast mine, RWE backed measures that offered the brown hare protection from its enemies and improved its habitat. The result: toward the end of the project, the hare population in the project territory had more than doubled.