According tomedia CNET reported that the impact of the 2011 earthquake in Japan, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant radioactive material leaked to the outside. More than 160,000 people were evacuated, leaving an area heavily polluted by radiation. Now, a study led by scientists at the University of Georgia suggests that the area, where humans no longer live, has been “occupied” by wild animals.
The team analyzed thousands of wildlife photos captured at 106 camera sites in three areas, which were excluded or restricted due to high and moderate levels of pollution. Humans are allowed to enter a third region with low background radiation levels.
Camera footage shows a wide variety of wildlife, including foxes, macaques, wild boars and dogs.
“Our results are the first evidence that despite radioactive contamination, there is still a lot of wildlife in the entire Fukushima nuclear evacuation zone,” said James Beasley, a wildlife biologist at the University of Georgia. “
The researchers focused on populations and did not assess the health of animals affected by radiation in the region. The team published the study Monday in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
The study shows that wildlife is now booming in the area. The team recorded 26,000 images of wild boars in no man’s land, 13,000 images in restricted areas and only 7,000 in areas where humans still live.
“Based on these analyses, our results suggest that human activity levels, altitudes and habitat types are the main factors affecting the species enrichas assessed, not radiation levels,” said study co-author Professor Thomas Hinton of the University of Fukushima’s School of Environmental Radiology. “