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Post Info TOPIC: Chernobyl nuclear site now a wildlife hotspot


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Chernobyl nuclear site now a wildlife hotspot


Oct 07 2015 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Chernobyl nuclear site now a wildlife hotspot
29 Years Since Disaster, It Now Teems With Moose, Roe Deer, Wild Boar And Wolves
Researchers have discovered abundant wildlife population at Chernobyl, the site of the world's largest nuclear accident in 1986 that released radioactive particles into the environment, forcing a massive evacuation.

The site in Ukraine, after 29 years since the catastrophe, looks more like a nature preserve than a disaster zone -abundant with moose, roe deer, wild boar and wolves -researchers said.

Previous studies in the 1,621-square-mile Chernobyl Exclusion Zone showed evidence of major radiation ef fects and significantly reduced populations of wildlife.Now, for the first time since the accident, researchers have colated long-term census data that show thriving wild life population in the zone.

“Our data are a testament to the resiliency of wildlife when freed from direct human pressures, such as habitat loss, fragmentation and persecution,“ said co-author James Beasley , assistant professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in US. “The research data clearly shows that a multitude of wildlife species are abundant throughout the zone, regardless of radiation contamination levels,“ Beasley said.

“This doesn't mean radiation is good for wildlife. The effects of human habitation, including hunting, farming and forestry , are a lot worse,“ said Jim Smith, a professor of environmental science at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom and the team's coordinator.

The results show that the number of moose, roe deer, red deer and wild boar living in the zone are similar to numbers in nearby uncontaminated nature reserves in the region. The census data on wolves in the area indicate they are seven times greater in number than those living in the nearby reserves.Aerial census data collected from 1987-1996 show rising numbers of moose, roe deer and wild boar in the zone.

The study's lead author, Tatiana Deryabina, a wildlife ecologist at Polessye State Radioecological Reserve in Belarus, has been working, studying and taking photos of the wildlife in the Chernobyl area for over 20 years.

The Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history , resulting in the death of 31 people and long-term effects, such as cancers.

The Chernobyl study was published in the journal Current Biology .


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