Russia: The explosion of a Nuclear Reactor at a former Soviet Union power plant in 1986 led to the leakage of dangerous radioactive material into the environment. The incident occurred from a fire in one of the nuclear reactors. The consequent pollution made the area unfit for life leading to the evacuation of thousands of people from villages and towns in the neighborhood. The area is the CEZ or Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and radiation levels continue to be beyond human tolerance limits but certain species of wildlife are trying to make a comeback.

It is not easy to predict when people will be able to return.

The Daily Mail UK reports scientists are conducting experiments to evaluate the present condition of the environment to plan a line of action for the future. They used different types of bait and installed hidden cameras to monitor the area on a continuous basis. They have had some success as they found 15 species of mammal and bird species.

Efforts to recover Chernobyl

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone covers an area of approximately 1,600 square miles.

A study undertaken in 2015 revealed the presence of only Grey Wolves in the region. The research teams used the bait of fish carcasses and scattered them on the banks of water bodies like rivers and canals in the contaminated zone to entice the wildlife. The experience was positive because the animals devoured the bait. In fact, they consumed most of the bait within one week.

In the opinion of researchers, this was proof that the animals had mastered the art of survival in severely contaminated radioactive surroundings.

The Daily Mail UK adds that associate professor James Beaseley at the University of Georgia explained: “These animals were photographed while scavenging fish carcasses placed on the shoreline of rivers and canals in the CEZ.” Cameras captured white-tailed eagles, American mink and river otters.

Search for life in radioactive surroundings

According to Geek, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) around the nuclear power plant consists of remnants of abandoned buildings and habitation. An explosion in 1986 destroyed the facility and there is hardly any sign of life in the CEZ but researchers are using a fish carcass model to ascertain the extent of the horror that remains after more than three decades.

They have used strategically placed cameras to record the presence of a few types of wildlife and believe that some species can survive in such harsh surroundings. Incidentally, there was an accident in the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011 due to a combination of an earthquake and a tsunami with similar consequences and authorities now exercise the utmost care to ensure the safety of such setups.