Rare Species Of Animals Reclaim Nuclear Wasteland
Chernobyl — the radioactive wasteland that caused catastrophic damage to human and animal life in the area is now seeing endangered animal population thrive.
The radioactive disaster at Chernobyl has to be the worst things to have happened to this planet, causing an evacuation of a total of 350,000 people 35 years ago. And while this location won’t be fit for humans for another 24,000 years, natural life is thriving here without human intervention.
This is according to researchers from the University of Portsmouth(reported first by EuroNews & AFP). When the radioactive calamity occurred, it resulted in the killing of pine trees of over 400 hectares in the immediate aftermath. However, in the last three decades, authorities have witnessed rare species of animals like the lynx and the European bison thrive in population.
In the exclusion zone in the Belarussian part, researchers have seen a considerable increase in the population of boar, elk and roe deer, especially the decade after the disaster. Wold population grew sevenfold.
According to James Smith, one of the lead researchers of the study, “Wold numbers are seven times higher, likely due to much lower hunting pressure in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Our camera trap surveys in Ukraine have photographed Eurasian lynx, brown bear, black storks, and European Bison. Ukrainian and Belarussian researchers have recorded hundreds of plant and animal species in the zone including more than 60 rare species.”
Species include the rare and endangered horse Prezwalski, native to Central Asia. It is however crucial to note that researchers don’t have an idea of how healthy these animals truly are.
Researchers feel that these species could be suffering negatively due to radiation poisoning and sadly, collecting data to monitor this situation is nearly impossible.
What researchers have been able to do is look at the effect of the disasters on plants like wheat, rye, oats and barley grown in the area, only to find that the area is still contaminated, according to a study by the University of Exeter and the Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology.