Known as one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, where thousands of tons of radioactive waste was thrown up into the atmosphere: Chernobyl is still studied about intensely to this day. Causing an evacuation of over 100,000 people and creating a completely barren area, in fact, it is now one of the biggest unintentional natural wildlife habitats. A zone spanning over 1,800 square miles.
It has become one of the most interesting areas for scientists to study because the whole area was contaminated but also because the human population left. As a naturalist looking into how animals thrive in their habitats, this is a very interesting opportunity to study.
Is radiation worse than human pollution or vice versa?
Researchers have been able to look into the impact of both on the area and the outcome has been very disconcerting. Generally, wildlife is thriving in the Chernobyl area. Moose, wolves, foxes and even the elusive lynx have been spotted all over the zone. In fact, their populations seem to be growing bigger and doing, for the most part, quite okay. This would seem to indicate that humans have a worse impact on nature than actually radioactive sludge?
The abandoned concrete villages have become infamous photos, as trees take over the cities and roots pop through the roads. Mother nature has taken no time to start taking back what is hers. Even wild boar and deer have been spotted roaming the area quite merrily.
An expert Professor Nick Beresford on the disaster has even said:
“You could say that the overall effect was positive”
The reason he makes this claim is because when humans are around well animals are shot or run off their natural habitats. Here they are able to exist peacefully in their habitat without any disturbance.
Though no one really knows why the resurgence of wildlife in the radiation zone has happened, we can only hope that in the long term they continue to thrive. Yet when you think that every plant and even the dirt is radioactive in Chernobyl, you can not help but worry that the future generations of these animals may be difficult.