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article imageAnimal life begins to thrive again around Fukushima

By Tim Sandle     Jan 8, 2020 in Environment
Although still affected by high levels of radiation, the first evidence has been reported of numerous species of wildlife have returned to the Fukushima Evacuation Zone. Some of the species have been found in relatively high numbers.
The Fukushima nuclear plant, destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, leading to the world's second worst nuclear incident after Chernobyl. Now, almost ten years on, scientists have discovered that wildlife populations are abundant in areas that remain void of human life.
During the past five years, clean-up efforts at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant have significantly reduced radiation levels. However, untreated forested areas remain a problem and around one million tonnes of contaminated water has built up since then and the tanks that hold it are almost full. the build up of water has led to discussions within Japan about releasing radioactive water into the sea, much to the alarm of environmental campaign groups.
As a result of the clean-up efforts, and moves by conservation groups to 'rewild' the former disaster area, there are signs that animal life is retruning. An assessment of over 267,000 wildlife photographic images, taken over a 120 day period, has recorded more than 20 species. These animals include wild boar, Japanese hare, macaques, pheasant, fox and the raccoon dog (which is a relative of the fox). the animals have been tracked and traced in various areas of the impacted landscape.
Some of the wildlife in the area has been captured on video:
As the video shows, also recorded are creatures like the red fox, masked palm civet, weasel, sika deer and black bear.
According to lead scientist James Beasley: "Our results represent the first evidence that numerous species of wildlife are now abundant throughout the Fukushima Evacuation Zone, despite the presence of radiological contamination."
The research is published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, where the research paper is tilted "Rewilding of Fukushima's human evacuation zone."
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