Chernobyl effects on the wildlife

Chernobyl effects on the wildlife
Credit: Valeriy Yurko

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A long-term study now sheds light on the radiation effects on wildlife in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Ever since the nuclear power plant sent radiation in the air around it, 0 people have lived in the 1,600 square mile exclusion zone. People leaving left this land to the wildlife to fend for themselves after the radiation leak. And the latest ten year study shows that the wildlife may be doing better now then before the explosion.

"It's very likely that wildlife numbers at Chernobyl are much higher than they were before the accident," explained Jim Smith, of the University of Portsmouth. Smith is a coauthor of the study, which was published in Current Biology. "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."

Cameras set up in the zone are being used to monitor wildlife movements and numbers. Deer, Boars, Bears, Foxes, Wolves and many other species are seen by the cameras and the numbers are quite impressive.

Moose and Boar numbers are increasing in the Chernobyl exclusion zone while in other parts of Europe they are declining. Wolves seem to be actually thriving with numbers seven times higher in the exclusion zone than other reserves in Europe.

This study shows that humans could be the greatest threat to wildlife populations because it seems to show that the wildlife seems to handle itself just fine even with a nuclear disaster present.

Copyright 2015 Tucson News Now. All Rights Reserved