Since the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 caused an international disaster and ejected radioactive particles into the air that could be detected right across Europe, the land surrounding the site has been abandoned and never resettled.
Check out the full article at: Long-Term Study Shows What's Happening To Wildlife Around Chernobyl | IFLScience
Hands down, best quote of the article haha:
Jim Smith, of the University of Portsmouth, in a statement: “This doesn't mean radiation is good for wildlife, just that the effects of human habitation, including hunting, farming, and forestry, are a lot worse.”
Other excerpts I found interesting:
"The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) covers 4,200 square kilometers (1,600 square miles), and encompasses parts of both Belarus and Ukraine. "
- Isn't that crazy? That is such a huge area to be entirely evacuated of human life. For context, that'd be more than the size of LA (1,214km2), New York (789km2) and London (1,572km2) combined.
"Today, they found that while the numbers of moose, wild boar, red deer and roe deer have reached the same as that observed in uncontaminated national reserves in the surrounding region, the number of wolves is actually seven times higher in the CEZ."
And from the comments, an interesting question posed:
"Population numbers are one thing, long term population health is another. How long are those animals living? Deer breed at 1 1/2 years and live about 5 years. Are they making it to 5 in the area or are they dying young? Those are the questions I would like to see addressed."
With someone answering: "That question is pretty much self explanatory, since the disaster happened about 30 years ago. If the population has risen to the same level as in national reserves in other areas, even with 7 times as many predators, there probably isn't much affect from the radiation. On the other hand, predators always seek out the weakest individual, so any animals born with defects or weaknesses are killed first. It's simply how nature ensures survival."
I guess this article is just really interesting to me as I've previously watched videos along the lines of "What would happen if humans just suddenly disappeared?" They talk about how trees and nature will reclaim entire cities.
How a singular fire could spread rapidly throughout an entire area, without firefighters to contain them.
How buildings and iron structures would collapse without maintenance and through exposure to the elements.
The above are sourced from the documentary "Life After People" (trailer can be found here).
And if you'd like to watch a quick video about it, by ASAP Science: