Wildlife Thrives Near Fukushima, Showing Disasters Can End

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When the Fukushima nuclear disaster took place a decade ago, there were fears the damage could be permanent. The severity of the incident left many in total fear as to what would happen to the land and the lives of many.

Not only were human lives affected, but the lives of all nature in the region could be irredeemably harmed. However, that looks to be have been an apocalyptic prediction from the past. Just a decade on from the Fukushima incident, wildlife is already thriving in the surrounding areas.

As one of the worst disasters to take place in the 21st century, the Fukushima incident had the potential to be a blight for Japan. However, without humanity hanging around the place anymore, the natural elements around Fukushima are not just present: they are thriving. 

As part of a study put together in the Journal of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, great results were found in and around Fukushima.

Indeed, more than 20 species have begun to heavily repopulate in the area. From many wild boars to macaques and raccoon dogs, many animals have returned to the area in greater numbers than before. 

Speaking about the finding was University of Georgia wildlife biologist, James Beasley. Beasley said: "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,”

While humans have been gradually brought back to the area since 2016, just 5% of the previous local population has returned. The area can feel deserted and almost empty of human influence on life. 

However, this appears to be one of the main reasons why animals have returned in such vast numbers. Without humans to interfere and get in the way, they can thrive.

A positive after a major incident

While major environmental incidents don’t tend to have happy endings, this one would appear to be different. With over 260,000 images captured across 120 days, the team managed to find many species flourishing, arguably in better conditions than ever before. 

Shutterstock / Chernobyl

From Japanese serow to wolves and mammals of various sizes, we are seeing more creatures here than ever before. It’s actually a good example of what happened post-Chernobyl, too. 

Without humans there to limit their ability to thrive, animals have returned in massive numbers – just like nature had intended.

With the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone being rated as among the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Europe, who knows what could become of Fukushima in the future?

One thing is for sure – this is a massive positive after what was a tremendously negative experience for all involved. 

Recovery has taken place at a much more pronounced rate than anyone could ever have hoped for. Surely, after such a massively negative event, this can only be seen as a good thing moving forward?