Thursday, April 20, 2006

Chernobyl Nature Reserve?

It contains some of the most contaminated land in the world, yet it has become a haven for wildlife - a nature reserve in all but name. The exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power station is teeming with life.

As humans were evacuated from the area 20 years ago, animals moved in. Existing populations multiplied and species not seen for decades, such as the lynx and eagle owl, began to return.

A large part of the Chernobyl zone within Belarus has already officially been turned into a nature reserve.

Sergey Gaschak wants Ukraine to follow suit and to turn its 2,500 sq km of evacuated land into a reserve or national park.
Well at least it worked out well for somebody. Looks like some of the animals have actually evolved to be able to live there. Would be really intresting to see how their DNA differs, could be some novel radiation protection genes in there.
Sergey Gaschak has experimented on mice in the Red Forest.

"We marked animals then recaptured them again much later," he says.

"And we found they lived as long as animals in relatively clean areas."

The next step was to take these other mice and put them in an enclosure in the Red Forest.

"They felt not very well," Sergey says.

"The distinction between the local and newcomer animals was very evident."
Maybe we can use this whole radioactive waste thing to our advantage.
He went on: "I have wondered if the small volumes of nuclear waste from power production should be stored in tropical forests and other habitats in need of a reliable guardian against their destruction by greedy developers".
Ahhh, don't know if we want to go that far, buddy.


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