Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Nature's Precincts

"In purely environmental terms, if you take the terrible things that happened to the human population out of the equation, as far as we can see at this stage, the accident hasn't done serious environmental damage."
"The wildlife at Chernobyl is very likely better than it was before the accident. Not because radiation is good for animals, but human occupation is much worse."
Professor Jim Smith, Portsmouth University, Britain

"This study only applies to large mammals under hunting pressure rather than the vast majority of animals, for example most birds, small mammals, and insects, that are not directly influenced by human habitation effects."
"As such, it does not address the fundamental question of the ways in which natural populations are affected by radioactive contaminants."
"[The area is not] teeming the way you see it in other places around the world where hunting has been curtailed."
Tim Mousseau, biologist, University of South Carolina

Wildlife may not have been as affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster as previously thought. Here, wild boar run in a former village in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Valeriy Yurko
The restorative effects on soil, helping to put vital minerals back into the earth by programmed burns was known to ancient indigenous peoples who renewed soil after crops had removed all the vital elements over many years, by planning to fire fields, plow them under with whatever primitive means at their disposal, and then turning them back into vibrantly productive food sources.

At Chernobyl there was no plan to burn the area in Ukraine where the plant located there was the 1986 site of a horrendous nuclear accident whose fallout affected the human population and the animals that lived in the region, causing a massive evacuation and emergency interventions of dire consequences. It remains an exclusion site, and the memories related to the catastrophe are not readily forgotten.

An estimated 116,000 people were evacuated, losing all that was of value to them, beginning with their security and ending with their life transformed forever with the residue of health conditions and the need to begin their lives over again removed from the place they considered home.

A report published recently in the journal Current Biology has gathered evidence from helicopter surveys to reach a surprising conclusion, one not shared by all biologists who have studied the site, but an intriguing one nonetheless.

Nature, it contends, has intervened in the following years to ameliorate the tremendous damage done by humankind in manipulating natural processes without due care and respect of the potential fallout. Rare species of wild animals including European lynx have found a haven in the exclusion zone which nature has reclaimed. Wild boar, roe deer, fox and wolves are thriving

chernobyl-wolf A wolf seen in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. There are more wolves found here than in nearby uncontaminated reserves. Valeriy Yurko

The European brown bear, not resident in the area for a century has returned. Thirty years it has taken for nature to invite her creatures to return to a natural setting laid waste by the work of humans whose incursion and natural spread into the homeland of wild creatures was responsible for their need to vacate the geography to begin with.

The accident whose monumental proportions of dread and disaster imperilled human life has resulted finally in a return of animal life, it would appear.

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