Animals Are Thriving At Chernobyl

The nuclear disaster zone has become a wildlife paradise

An international group of scientists led by Professor Jim Smith from the University of Portsmouth have conducted the first large-scale study of mammal populations in the human exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl.

The researchers found that wildlife is thriving in the nuclear disaster zone, with an abundance of elk, roe deer, red deer, wolves and wild boars.

“We know that radiation can be harmful in very high doses, but research on Chernobyl has shown that it isn’t as harmful as many people think,” said Professor Smith.

(Image: Tatyana Deryabina/University Of Portsmouth)

“There have been many reports of abundant wildlife at Chernobyl, but this is the first large-scale study to prove how resilient they are.”

“It’s very likely that wildlife numbers at Chernobyl are much higher than they were before the accident.”

It’s a remarkable turnaround for an area that was declared a no-go zone for humans after an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant back in 1986.

(Image: Tatyana Deryabina/University Of Portsmouth)

The explosion of animal populations suggests that humans are worse for wildlife than a nuclear disaster. Professor Smith adds that, “when humans are removed, nature flourishes – even in the wake of the world’s worst nuclear accident.”

“This doesn’t mean radiation is good for wildlife, just that the effects of human habitation, including hunting, farming and forestry, are a lot worse.”

The findings have been published in Current Biology.

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