Wildlife Flourish around Chernobyl Nuclear Plant: Study

According to a new study published in the journal Current Biology, Wildlife is abundant at the site of the infamous Chernobyl nuclear plant in spite of the presence of radiation emitted by the most devastating nuclear explosion experienced by our planet. For those who don’t know: the said explosion took place almost three decades back, on April 26, 1986, to be more precise.

Scientists conducting this new study found that the region is home to high numbers of boar, deer, wolves, and elk. The number of these animals present in Chernobyl exclusion zone’s Belarusian half at this moment is almost the same as those present in four adjacent unpolluted nature reserves.

According to data put up by the study, wolves, one of the most commonly hunted animals of the region due to their habit of attacking livestock, are seven times more abundant in this zone than its nearby reserves.

According to the scientists, such abundance of wildlife shows that the long-term effects of the 1986 nuclear accident are much less harmful than everyday actions of the humans.

The findings of the study counter the previous hypotheses that suggested that animal populations get badly affected by chronic, long-term contact with radiation.

Study author Professor Jim Smith, who teaches environmental science at the University of Portsmouth, said that activities of humans, their everyday habitation of a particular region, forestry, agriculture, etc. have caused more damage to wildlife than the worst ever nuclear accident experienced by our planet.

He added that by saying that the worst ever nuclear accident was not as harmful as day to day activities of humans, he is not trying to establish that such accidents aren’t bad. Prof. Smith said that he is saying so to highlight the fact that humans are causing severe damage to the environment.

The 1986 explosion of reactor four killed several rescue workers and plant staff and also resulted in the release of a high level of radiation. The weeks and months following the explosion saw the radiation causing severe damage to the health of animals residing in the surrounding area of Chernobyl; their ability to reproduce was also affected badly.

Earlier it was believed that long-term effects of the explosion were also extremely harmful. However, this new study has shown that it was only a myth.