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The location of the notorious nuclear disaster becomes an unlikely animal shelter


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Both in the unforgiving atmosphere of the Antarctic and in the depths of the oceans, animals have the opportunity to find places where people don’t dare go and make them their living space.

You may think they are trying to escape us – and maybe they are.

After all, habitat loss is the biggest threat to animals on Earth.

It is therefore not surprising that animals thrive in one of the world’s most famous nuclear catastrophes: the country around the Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi.

A new study published this week in the Frontiers Journal of Ecology and Environment shows that more than 20 species – many of which are the most vulnerable in the country – live on the site.

For the study, researchers from the University of Georgia used a battery of cameras to capture around 267,000 images of 20 types. Between them? Wild boar, Japanese rabbits, macaques, cyclists, foxes, and raccoon dogs.

Fukushima, which had remained largely uninhabited for nearly a decade after a facility collapsed due to a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, appears to have become an exciting shelter.

“Our results are the first evidence that despite radioactive contamination, there is an abundance of wildlife in the Fukushima evacuation area,” James Beasley, a wildlife biologist at the University of Georgia, said in a statement.

In particular, animals traditionally associated with humans – like the famous wild boar – find a place to spread their feet in Fukushima.

“This shows that these species increased considerably after the evacuation,” adds Beasley.

In total, the researchers collected data from 106 cameras in 120 days. Surprisingly, most images of nature are captured by cameras in low areas, such as the Fukushima extraction site.

Above all, the most common Japanese pigs, colds and killers are found in places where people are completely excluded. These areas also reported the most radioactive activity – the researchers did not want to assess the health of the animals there.

“Based on these analyses, our results show that human activity, height, and habitat type are the main factors that affect the abundance of species that are evaluated, rather than radiation rates,” Paisley said…