A University of Georgia study found that animal life is thriving in Fukushima, Japan, the site of a nuclear accident in 2011, according to a UGA Today news release.
Throughout the “camera study,” researchers took more than 200,000 photos and captured images of more than 20 species, showing that wildlife populations have been positively affected since people evacuated after the nuclear accident.
“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,” said James Beasley, an associate professor at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, in the release.
Fukushima was the site of a major nuclear accident in 2011. A tsunami cut off the power supply to the reactors, causing a failure of the cooling system, a meltdown of the cores and the release of radioactive material into the surrounding area, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Residents of the area near the reactors were evacuated.
Multiple species were documented in higher numbers in the exclusion zone than in the inhabited zone, according to the release. The researchers stated the wildlife thrived in the evacuated area.
The study concluded that factors such as human activity, elevation and habitat type influenced wildlife more than radiation levels. The team of researchers has also conducted research in Chernobyl, Ukraine, the site of a 1986 nuclear accident.