Wildlife that thrives in the uninhabited areas around Fukushima

Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant melted, releasing radioactive materials into the air and more than 100,000 people were evacuated from the area.

Scientists have now found that wildlife is abundant in areas where humans no longer live.

Using remote cameras, University of Georgia researchers recovered more than 267,000 photos of more than 20 species, including raccoon dogs, wild boars, macaques, pheasants, foxes and Japanese hares in the areas surrounding the power plant.

“Our findings represent the first evidence that numerous wildlife species are now abundant throughout the Fukushima evacuation zone, despite the presence of radiological contamination,” James Beasley, associate professor at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, said in a statement.

The control room at Chernobyl is now open to visitors, but wearing only a fireproof suit

Photographic data was collected from 106 camera sites from three zones: areas where humans were excluded due to the higher level of contamination; areas where humans were limited due to an intermediate level of contamination; and areas where people could stay.

In 120 days, the cameras captured 46,000 photographs of wild boars, with over 26,000 images taken in uninhabited areas.

In contrast, some 13,000 images were taken in areas where humans were limited due to contamination and 7,000 in areas inhabited by people.

The researchers captured images of over 20 species, including macaque monkeys, in the areas surrounding the plant.

The researchers also saw more raccoons, Japanese martens, weasel-like animals, and Japanese macaques or monkeys in uninhabited or confined areas.

Species considered “in conflict” with humans, such as wild boar, were photographed predominantly in areas and areas evacuated by humans, Beasley said.

Inside Slavutych, the city created by the Chernobyl explosion

While the research monitors the radiological impact on wildlife populations as a whole, it does not provide an assessment of the health of individual animals, the scientists noted.

the study was published Monday in the Journal of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, and was produced in addition to the team’s research on Chernobyl, where wildlife has also thrived in the wake of the disaster.

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