If you think that life for a wild animal would be more horrendous and hazardous inside an "exclusionary zone" in the shadow of a melted-down nuclear plant than living in a world beset with deforestation, hunting and poaching, and the nearly non-stop encroachment of humanity's industrial expansion—a new study may have you thinking twice about such assumptions.
Thanks to CD for this piece. A while back, maybe it was during the original dust up over Ukraine, I saw a video of the Chernobyl area from the air, showing a grown over amusement park, but what struck me was the pair of what appeared to be healthy foxes wandering about. This article helps, I find it amazing that animal life is thriving at all under such conditions.
If ever there were a hairball of bad science this is it. Where is the control? The exclusion has included the top predator, which is NOT discussed. I could go on, but this anecdotal “evidence” passing as science is making me sick. Now, where is my geiger counter?
There are certain limitations to studying animals from afar. For example animals born with birth defects will not survive the rigors of Russian winters and evidence for their demise would be consumed by scavengers. The shorter life spans of animals are another factor and 30 years has lessened the level of radiation on the surface thus reducing the amounts ingested. Moreover large animals do not stay in one feeding place. Do people die from exposure? Did people die from the exposure they received from Chernobyl? Yeah they did. Do these animals develop cancer eventually then die and no one ever knows what they died of?
In the DMZ between the two Koreas (where no humans go) there are still tigers and leopards.
It is the top predators that should have the highest concentration of radionuclides that could get absorbed into animal tissue.
Imagine how the pro-nuclear power advocates are going to spin this data. Which idiot said that minor radiation was GOOD for people and other living beings? And the climate change deniers will make hay out of this data, too. Look for spin…
Yes, it would be pretentious of me to comment on the science involved here, I am just surprised that any animal life could survive under the conditions at Chernobyl.
They would even if the results said the opposite thing to what the story claims.
It’s only when the science agrees with their ‘holy’ thoughts/opinions/world views that the science becomes valid.
I’m not. I would be interested in reading about how healthy their offspring is, I’d also like to know how the offspring does when it has a longer gestation time.
Small animals which breed rapidly should also be studied. They’re the ones that are the genetic ‘canaries’. Not the big critters that could have been born elsewhere and moved into the zone while fleeing humans.
The top predator was humans, which have been excluded. (Not just food-wise, either–habitat destruction, road kill…)
There are also towns in Brazil on thorium laden monazite sand beaches with natural radiation levels 100 times typical background levels. Cancer rates there are no different than elsewhere.
This article certainly supports the positions I’ve taken in past comments regarding the relative hazards of non-CO2 emitting nuclear electric generation - which use reactors and containments that are entirely different and vastly safer than the inherently unstable RBMK reactors in Chernobyl.
Good, I leave to those of you with the approprate scientific background not to be surprised.
The exposures that killed people in Chernobyl were millions of times greater than current radiation levels around Chernobyl.
This superstition that regards radioactive materials from nuclear power generation as something uniquely and horrifyingly deadly to all life on earth is right up there with global warming denialism, “chemtrails” and “911 was an inside job”. There are common natural or man made unregulated chemical products (and radioactive substances like natural radon concentrations in dwellings and Coleman lamp mantles) that are more hazardous.
I predict that this article will soon disappear. I’m sure the phone is ringing off the hook with angry callers up in Portland (Maine) right now…
Oops - this was meant as a general comment.
That was my first reaction as well. The Guardian is equally pathetic.
Banner Headline “Wildlife thriving around Chernobyl”
Glossing over with one paragraph…
The explosion of reactor four on 26 April 1986 killed dozens of plant staff and rescue workers, and led to high radiation doses in the first weeks and months that had significant effects on animal health and reproduction around Chernobyl.
To the wonderful… Wildlife thriving around Chernobyl, with the small red herring that due to the absence of man it’s even better…
Let’s talk about down line cancer rates, and how gene pool was terminated in various ways. Let’s talk about the family stomach cancers that have ravaged the population. Jeez if 60 minutes can even get the story right, you’d think the Guardian might have a chance.
Showing a count and amount, with respect to the absence of man’s daily destructive influence, is not the science that proves everything is peachy.
Stay tuned for “Fukushima is Fun”…
Thanks, I have a BA in history.
All life is in constantly relational dynamic far exceeding the parameters of ‘understandings’ of western science to date. The constellation of considerations would make a wonderful board game of speculation - no doubt already well underway.
Micologist Paul Stamets at Bioneers 2014
This is a mistake, disregard.
Im frankly not surprised at all. Wildlife is surprisingly resilient, when man moves out wildlife moves in.