Visit Sunny Chernobyl - We Have Wolves Now!

Visit Sunny Chernobyl - We Have Wolves Now!

A long-term study of wildlife in the irradiated wasteland of Chernobyl has revealed it has become a haven for animals in the decades since the nuclear disaster.

Have I got a deal for you. It's the vacation of a lifetime! You can stalk the countryside - have a pleasant roadside picnic - explore historic Pripyat - hey, wait, where are you going?

It's been nearly thirty years since the Chernobyl incident - at that time, the worst nuclear disaster in history - brought the dangers of nuclear energy into stark relief. It taught us harsh but needed lessons that we've used to make future reactors safer. It left the surrounding countryside, including the nearby town of Pripyat, empty of almost all life. Anything that stayed, died; everything else - human or otherwise - moved far, far away.

But the Chernobyl area is starting to bounce back, ecologically, little by little. The whole place is still a poisonous wasteland, don't get me wrong. But some animals have been finding the region to be a relatively safe place to live.

Professor Jim Smith of the University of Portsmouth led a long-term census on the populations of wildlife in the affected area. This "does not mean that radiation is good for wildlife," he insists. "It's just that the effects of human habitation, including hunting, farming, and forestry, are a lot worse."

Using remote, automatic cameras and aerial surveys, the researchers tallied the numbers on a number of different large mammal populations, such as roe deer, elk, wolves, and wild boars.

Some photos taken by the cameras along the Ukrainian border with the exclusion zone:

"The numbers of animals we see in Chernobyl is similar to the populations in uncontaminated nature reserves."

This is no nature reserve, however. The exclusion zone, which extends 30 kilometres from the disaster site, is still thick with radiation. The animals living here are likely suffering from it constantly. At the same time, these animals are living in the ruins of a human civilization, now overgrown and taken over by what nature survives. Wild horses make their homes in abandoned barns that once contained their domesticated brethren. Wild boar charge down empty city streets.

It's an unintentional experiment in what can happen when humans very suddenly depart an area, and the results speak for themselves.

Chernobyl hasn't been entirely devoid of life since the incident, it should be noted. The return of mammals may have taken several years, but one lifeform in particular seemed to be born of the fallout - radiotrophic fungi were discovered in 1991 lining the inside of the broken down reactor. It appears as a black mold, and by all accounts seems to be quite content feeding off the radiation itself...

...until it develops a taste for blood.

Source: BBC

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PatrickJS:
have a pleasant roadside picnic

I do not suppose you are a fan of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise?

P.S. I wonder how well the wildlife will fare after the chimera show up.

I hate to be um.. well anyway.

Is this not rather old news? o.o I've been reading articles about the massive success of wildlife - including wolf packs - around Chernobyl for years. There was a report two or three years ago about how the popular theory wolves were just going there to die had been debunked, and how the fish in the old heat dispersal lakes were some of the largest and healthiest examples of their species in the world. 'Also talked about how the exclusion zone's actually basically safe too enter now as long as dust's not kicked up.

PatrickJS:
Chernobyl hasn't been entirely devoid of life since the incident, it should be noted. The return of mammals may have taken several years, but one lifeform in particular seemed to be born of the fallout - radiotrophic fungi were discovered in 1991 lining the inside of the broken down reactor. It appears as a black mold, and by all accounts seems to be quite content feeding off the radiation itself...

Fungi are weird organisms. They seem to be nature's guardians and waste disposal agents. I'm pretty sure those species could find a way to dispose of the excess elemental plutonium & active uranium fairly "quickly". If some species can digest rock then might as well form specialisations that feed on individual radiations while it's at it and I wouldn't be surprised at all.

vonSanneck:

Fungi are weird organisms. They seem to be nature's guardians and waste disposal agents. I'm pretty sure those species could find a way to dispose of the excess elemental plutonium & active uranium fairly "quickly". If some species can digest rock then might as well form specialisations that feed on individual radiations while it's at it and I wouldn't be surprised at all.

Kind of funny really, heres a type of radiation which would kill most lifeforms and this fungi is happily munching on it like its candy. Just goes to show how resilient life really is and how likely we are to find basic life even in our solar system let alone in other systems.

I will just sing "I don't want to set the world on fire..." as I walk along, hoping the mutated house cats (known as Deathclaws) don't jump out and attack me.

And that's why Fallout sometimes annoys me, especially Fallout 3. No Bethesda, Washington and its surrounding areas won't be a dead, grey void two centuries after a nuclear explosion. Now start making interesting environments already.

Wolfies! It's no surprise though. Has anyone else seen the video of the fox making itself a sandwich? I honestly would love to go to Pripyat and the NPP. That would be the scavenger trip of a lifetime. I just hope they turned off the Brain Scorcher.

Cowabungaa:
And that's why Fallout sometimes annoys me, especially Fallout 3. No Bethesda, Washington and its surrounding areas won't be a dead, grey void two centuries after a nuclear explosion. Now start making interesting environments already.

Theres a difference though between a country (world?) blasted to oblivion by nuclear warheads in mutually assured destruction, and a nuclear power plant failure leading to radioactive leaks in the surrounding area.

I do prefer the world of the Stalker games though, keeping an interesting flora and fauna alive mostly untouched by humans.

NLS:

Cowabungaa:
And that's why Fallout sometimes annoys me, especially Fallout 3. No Bethesda, Washington and its surrounding areas won't be a dead, grey void two centuries after a nuclear explosion. Now start making interesting environments already.

Theres a difference though between a country (world?) blasted to oblivion by nuclear warheads in mutually assured destruction, and a nuclear power plant failure leading to radioactive leaks in the surrounding area.

I do prefer the world of the Stalker games though, keeping an interesting flora and fauna alive mostly untouched by humans.

Oh no, Chernobyl was an explosion alright, about 60% the strength of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima (though that bomb didn't have shielding around it, naturally). I mean, sure, a nuclear warhead has quite a more devastating effect, but seeing as how rapid nature overcomes obstacles like that it'll do a lot in two centuries. Yeah, STALKER definitely did post-nuclear wasteland a lot more interesting. Hopefully Fallout 4 will vary things up a bit more.

Yeah, this is old news.

However, "at that time, the worst nuclear disaster in history"...when was it surpassed? Fukushima wasn't as bad, surely.

thaluikhain:
Yeah, this is old news.

However, "at that time, the worst nuclear disaster in history"...when was it surpassed? Fukushima wasn't as bad, surely.

Actually, afaik Fukushima is way, waaaay worse: irradiated water has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean non-stop since the disaster.

animals tend to like living where people do not hunt them. who knew! its like unintentional natural preserve in there at the moment. and quite a funny one. some people who refused to move/came back still live there and somehow havent died even though the plants they grow are considered "unedible" by our standards.

008Zulu:
I will just sing "I don't want to set the world on fire..." as I walk along, hoping the mutated house cats (known as Deathclaws) don't jump out and attack me.

wrong game. this is Stalker, your thinking of Fallout.

EbonBehelit:

Actually, afaik Fukushima is way, waaaay worse: irradiated water has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean non-stop since the disaster.

you are wrong on this. while Fukoshima was bumped to 7 on the scale, it is nowhere even close to the level that Chernobyl was. And no, the irradiated water is not leaking into the pacific. they have released irradiated coolant (that was water for the most part) to relieve the reactor of pressure before they could get the emergency systems destroyed by the tsunami back on.

Also to compare - fukoshima did not leave irradiated wasteland around the reactor. it is in fact quite safe to walk right up to the building at the moment, something that you should not do to Chernobyls reactor even to this day. there is also 0 (yes, zero) confirmed deaths of injuries as a result of radiation. For Chernobyl, the number is from 50 to 80 depending on the sources. So no, fukushima is not worse, not even close.

Cowabungaa:
And that's why Fallout sometimes annoys me, especially Fallout 3. No Bethesda, Washington and its surrounding areas won't be a dead, grey void two centuries after a nuclear explosion. Now start making interesting environments already.

Always remember that Fallout doesn't run on science but SCIENCE!. Ever since the first fallout, the games have been run on an internal logic based on how the public perception of the 50's believed things would be. That's why you have large vacuum tube and magnetic reel computers, over sized cars with massive fins and radiation that kills all plant life and creates deserts.

Strazdas:
animals tend to like living where people do not hunt them. who knew! its like unintentional natural preserve in there at the moment. and quite a funny one.

Apparently they have them in the UK as well, in the form of military training areas. Course, they have to run away from tanks and avoid UXBs, but still do better than outside.

- have a pleasant roadside picnic -
I see what you did there.

thaluikhain:
Yeah, this is old news.

However, "at that time, the worst nuclear disaster in history"...when was it surpassed? Fukushima wasn't as bad, surely.

It wasn't, not even close by any metric (radiation released, deaths, cancer risk etc.), but the media fear mongering did its job as we see from the post below. The evacuations hurt people more than the actual radiation would have.

Major_Tom:
It wasn't, not even close by any metric (radiation released, deaths, cancer risk etc.), but the media fear mongering did its job as we see from the post below. The evacuations hurt people more than the actual radiation would have.

Hmmm...actually, if you were to count the earthquake and tsunami as part of the same disaster...but then you may as well count the whole Cold War as part of Chernobyl.

I hope no journalists are reading this, I'd not put it past some of them.

The fungi they discovered growing in the remains of the explorable parts of the facility proper have unusual qualities, they think such fungi might be introduced into places like Fukushima as a means to consolidate radioactive particulates and improve cleanup efforts. What I always found as weird was that the S.T.A.L.K.E.R universe seems to be more of a minefield of wildlife despite the high propensity for producing carnivorous creatures than the otherwise irradiated, *placid* exclusion zone of reality.

Wherever you go, in all the games, you can easily find a pair or boars or a pack of blind dogs fucking over a few people.

I was promised super mutants. Where are they? Why would someone on the internet lie to me about that?

There's also places like the Red Forest where leaf litter and dead trees aren't decaying properly because the radiation in those areas has inhibited the bacteria and fungi that commonly act as part of the decay process. This means that a fire is more likely in these areas because of the mass of leaf litter and dead wood everywhere. And a fire would be BAD because it would pull up the radioactive elements that settled in the red forest and throw them into the air again.

vallorn:
There's also places like the Red Forest where leaf litter and dead trees aren't decaying properly because the radiation in those areas has inhibited the bacteria and fungi that commonly act as part of the decay process. This means that a fire is more likely in these areas because of the mass of leaf litter and dead wood everywhere. And a fire would be BAD because it would pull up the radioactive elements that settled in the red forest and throw them into the air again.

oh shit

What could be done about that? Dump a bunch of sand on it?

Vicarious Reality:

vallorn:
There's also places like the Red Forest where leaf litter and dead trees aren't decaying properly because the radiation in those areas has inhibited the bacteria and fungi that commonly act as part of the decay process. This means that a fire is more likely in these areas because of the mass of leaf litter and dead wood everywhere. And a fire would be BAD because it would pull up the radioactive elements that settled in the red forest and throw them into the air again.

oh shit

What could be done about that? Dump a bunch of sand on it?

The Red Forest is:

image

So there's a lot of ground to cover, the greyed out area shows the main spill of radioactive dust from the reactor, you can see the healthy forest on the left where the dust didn't spill.

For this reason simply dumping sand over it isn't a very good response, the sand would settle through the litter and you would still have the problem when the trees shed their leaves or die and cover the sand in a new layer of leaf litter and dead wood.

Really the only thing we can do is monitor it closely which people are doing, it has to be left to recover so that decay can happen properly. Other than that, any fix we could currently apply would be either temporary or do more harm than good in the long term.

People, Roadside Picnic is a different IP to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. :P

Also, in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. lore, the zone is NOT a product of radiation OR the 1986 disaster. It is due to a second disaster in 2006 that was caused due to the C-Conciousness trying to play with human nature.

And all their science is from old USSR war plans with some 21st century know-how.
Many of the mutants are from those abandoned laboratories in the zone and the old experiments. Some are due to the Psy-storm emissions. Few of those are really from radiation (only).

008Zulu:
I will just sing "I don't want to set the world on fire..." as I walk along, hoping the mutated house cats (known as Deathclaws) don't jump out and attack me.

Don't worry. The cats won't get ya. :D

xD The Chameleons will though.

OT: Good to hear the wild life is doing alright in Chernobyl.
Would be cool to hear more about this radiotrophic fungi.

I recognize that place! I had to hold off an entire Russian battalion while my C.O. was crippled, but he could still use his rifle. Good times, good times...

In reality, the place must be pretty interesting. Seeing wild animals just wandering around buildings and streets must be a sight to see.

Wait... animals taking over a place where humans used to live after a disaster? And the animals have to worry about radiation poisoning?! Guys I think Tokyo Jungle is real.

In regards of the radioactive fungi, I guess whenever we as humans fucked up, nature will always find a way to fix it.

It would be good to have the radiation finally disappears and make the area habitable to humans again, although for now it might just be the haven for these animals to escape human development and live in the one area that are too risky for us to enter.

Imp Emissary:

Don't worry. The cats won't get ya. :D

xD The Chameleons will though.

Yeah, the official backstory isn't as funny as the rumour of them being mutated house cats.

008Zulu:

Imp Emissary:

Don't worry. The cats won't get ya. :D

xD The Chameleons will though.

Yeah, the official backstory isn't as funny as the rumour of them being mutated house cats.

I disagree, but look at the bright side.

>:D There could still be mutated house cats!

:/ I should have mentioned that in the "What do you want in Fallout 4?" thread.

Charcharo:
People, Roadside Picnic is a different IP to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. :P

I dun care! I want mah Misery 2.2 already to sedate my rage pent up from not getting my STALKER 2 fix.

Saulkar:

Charcharo:
People, Roadside Picnic is a different IP to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. :P

I dun care! I want mah Misery 2.2 already to sedate my rage pent up from not getting my STALKER 2 fix.

But... MISERY aint even close to the best STALKER mods :P

Charcharo:

Saulkar:

Charcharo:
People, Roadside Picnic is a different IP to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. :P

I dun care! I want mah Misery 2.2 already to sedate my rage pent up from not getting my STALKER 2 fix.

But... MISERY aint even close to the best STALKER mods :P

What is/are your favourite (combination?)? My three favourite are Misery, the Zone Rearmed, and a mod that adds something like 75 extra full-length songs to the radios.

This should be the next STALKER mod: No mutants, no artifacts, boring real life.

RedRockRun:
This should be the next STALKER mod: No mutants, no artifacts, boring real life.

And the animals keep mostly away from you. But it would be neat if the human A.I. would react to the animal A.I.. Try to sneak, startle a bunch of something, people get cautious.

Cowabungaa:
And that's why Fallout sometimes annoys me, especially Fallout 3. No Bethesda, Washington and its surrounding areas won't be a dead, grey void two centuries after a nuclear explosion. Now start making interesting environments already.

I would like to point out that in the alternate universe that Fallout takes place in, nuclear weapons were specifically designed to not only explode, but to make as large an area as possible as radioactive as possible. Think the Doomsday Device in Dr. Strangelove, but on a smaller scale.

Source: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Nuclear_weapons

 

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