Thirty years ago an area of 1,622 square-miles was evacuated and it quickly morphed into ghost towns and desolate wastelands. This area is called the exclusion zone and it was created in the aftermath of an unprecedented nuclear event. According to a new study, while the area is still void of human life today, the wildlife is teeming in the exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl.
Heavy contamination didn’t stop the population of wildlife from increasing significantly and it is the lack of human population that is setting the stage for the wildlife to prosper. Today Chernobyl is an unofficial wildlife sanctuary that sprouted from one of the worst disasters in modern-day history, according to MSN News on October 7.
Immediately following the nuclear explosion in 1986 the area was so contaminated with radiation that nothing could live close by. The forest that sits closest to the Chernobyl plant was dubbed the “red forest” as the high radiation killed all the trees, turning them red.
USA Today reports the findings of this new study puts the numbers of the flourishing wildlife in line with places that are deemed wildlife reservations. It has become a wildlife haven in the absence of humans!
With radioactive iodine concentrating in the thyroids of all the animals living near the power plant, they too died off following this nuclear explosion. Scientists report that only one percent of the radiation contamination of the original readings taken days following the explosion remained a year after the event. This paved the way for the wildlife that has been calling the exclusion area its home and multiplying for almost three decades.
Finding the area with an abundance of deer, roe, moose, red deer and wild boar, went against the original theory that the damage to the population of these species would be long-lasting. Not only has the wildlife returned, but they scientists are seeing more than they did before the horrendous accident.
The population of wolves is seven times higher than what you would find in the surrounding reserves. Jim Smith of Portsmouth University in the UK says that “We’re pretty confident that before the accident, there weren’t these kinds of wildlife numbers in the zone.”
According to MSN, “Following the disaster, more than 116,000 local residents were evacuated from the zone around Chernobyl, which covers some 1,622 square miles, with only key construction workers and nuclear staff allowed into the site to safeguard the stricken reactors.”