Tesla's electric cars held back by ants? The builder, who is to open a factory near Berlin in 2021, began clearing the site on Thursday but must save the wildlife.
The American giant has now entered a race against the clock because its obligations to preserve endangered local species, in particular ants, birds and bats in hibernation, are likely to take time.
Tesla had received the green light last month for the construction of its first factory on European soil located in Grünheide, in the Brandenburg region, bordering Berlin.
However, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the car manufacturer must now dig up numerous colonies of ants using "shovels and small excavatorsTo relocate them further.
Tesla also promised to hang 400 nesting boxes in the area, as deforestation will deprive a number of birds of their nests. The birds will return to nest in the trees in March, and the bats are ready to come out of hibernation and start mating around the same time, the Tagesspiegel said.
The German Union for Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity (NABU) has warned that it would not be easy to move bats in particular. "To disturb the bats as little as possible, they must be moved during hibernation"Christiane Schroeder, director of the Brandenburg branch of NABU, told Berliner Zeitung last month.
Brandenburg expects a lot from the arrival of Tesla, which has promised thousands of quality jobs, while in return receiving benefits in kind such as public subsidies or even a lower real estate price.
Environmental protection is not the only obstacle Tesla has to face Grünheide. Last month, authorities defused seven World War II bombs that were discovered at the site of the future factory.