Thriving Chernobyl Wildlife

I’ve heard this once or twice before. When humans moved out of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, wildlife moved in. Pictures snapped by a camera trap:


One of the first rescuers on the site of the nuclear disaster, Gaschak has devoted recent years to photographing lynxes, otters, owls and other wildlife, and has even discovered the footprints of brown bears…

At the time of the disaster, there were few wild animals living in the region around the nuclear plant. But as the humans moved out in the wake of the catastrophe, large mammals appeared and thrived. While the animals showed incredibly high levels of radiation, they still looked normal. There were no giant wolves or three-headed deer.

According to a book on animal and plant life in the zone, A Natural History of Chernobyl, the only abnormalities found in animals has been albino spots and deformities in barn swallows.

Unless there’s some other explanation, it rather sounds like living things can tolerate far higher levels of radiation than had previously been believed.

I suppose the idea that high levels of radiation cause mutations – and three-headed deer –  comes from an understanding of living things as being wholly determined by their genes, and if the DNA in their genes is fragmented or modified by radiation, then the resulting plant or animal will reflect these changes. But assuming that the DNA in Chernobyl plants and animals actually actually is getting damaged by high radiation levels, it doesn’t seem to matter.

One possible explanation might be that when plant or animal cells become damaged, they usually won’t grow and divide like normal cells. They may even die. But undamaged cells around the damaged cells may continue to grow and divide, and the normal cells rapidly outnumber the damaged cells. And a wolf like the one in the photo may well have a great many dead and damaged cells in it, but these are gradually being flushed out and replaced by normally growing and dividing cells. And there’s only really a problem when very large numbers of cells are damaged or killed.

Whatever the explanation, this story had me wondering whether the danger from radiation may have been hyped – much like the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke -. It could be that nuclear physicists simply have no idea how dangerous radiation really is, and so the danger levels have been set artificially low until it becomes clearer.

In this respect, Chernobyl will be no doubt prove to be an interesting and informative experiment.


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13 Responses to Thriving Chernobyl Wildlife

  1. wobbler2012 says:

    If it’s anything like the “safe limits” that the wise ones plucked out of thin air for alcohol then we already know it’s a load of old bo**ocks Frank. ;-)

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      With regards to safe levels,knowing the current political atmosphere that has existed over the last 20-30 years and especially the last ten. All claims and supposed safe levels must be questioned. We know for a fact the nazis have reduced every true level out their to the level of nothing literally just to pass environemental laws and shut down industry. Yhey have literally removed complete websites of material that were easily accessed that showed what levels were safe until those levels destroyed their fabled claims. Its especially true of govmnt sites like the smoking and radiation site I found below. As soon as I started using it,poof the site page was gone! The same applies to everything where safe levels were established and especially where identification of disease establishment was set. BMI,HEART DISEASE etc etc…………..
      In order to make the lies have validity more lies have to be created to cover the last group of lies. Thats where Mike, Frank, Gary and all the rest of us play a major part in bringing back sanity into an insane world. The Nazis make it easy to destroy their fabricated truths. Its why we will win.

  2. There are three big dangers from radiation as I understand it:

    1) Heavy overdose where you just sicken and die in hours or months

    2) Cancer, which can take years to develop and, if that’s true in animals with shorter lives, might not be as noticeable.

    3) Damaged genes producing sterility or mutations which usually result in either stillbirths or birth defects. The birth defects can be hidden (say, poorly functioning kidneys) or obvious (missing an arm, having three heads) and might, again depending on the dose, only be obvious in one out of three or one out of ten births. The wolves might look fine, but they may lose 20% extra of their babies in birth. For a human population we’d see that as a disaster. For animal populations it’s not that obvious.

    – MJM

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      I think we are safe as smokers

      The U.S. national annual background dose for humans is approximately 360 mrem. A mrem, or millirem, is a standard measure of radiation dose. Examples of radiation doses from common medical procedures are:

      Chest x-ray (14 x 17 inch area) – 15 mrem

      Dental x-ray (3 inch diameter area) – 300 mrem

      Spinal x-ray (14 x 17 inch area) – 300 mrem

      Thyroid uptake study – 28,000 mrem to the thyroid

      Thyroid oblation – 18,000,000 mrem to the thyroid

      Average Annual Total
      361 mrem/year

      Tobacco (If You Smoke, Add ~ 280 mrem)

      Not quite 1 dental xray for a whole years smoking ehh!


      Thyroid oblation – 18,000,000 mrem to the thyroid /shrinking the thyroid

      Tobacco (If You Smoke, Add ~ 280 mrem)

      18,000,000 / 280 = roughly 64,000 years of equivalent years of smoking!

  3. margo says:

    On the other hand, we can read the results of the work of Mousseau and Mollers, who studied the effects in birds and insects from 2001 to 2011 and found: albinism, sperm irregularities, increased death rates, reduced brain size, etc, etc. They found a reduced abundance of invertebrates including bumblebees, spiders, butterflies and dragonfiles, species richness of forest birds 50% lower than other areas and, overall, a 60% drop in bird numbers.
    And we can read Alexei Yablakov’s “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”, and here’s a quote:
    ‘Wildlife in the heavily contaminated Chernobyl zone sometimes seems to flourish but the appearance is deceptive ….. long-term observations of both wild and experimental populations in the heavily contaminated areas show significant increases in morbidity and mortality that bear a striking resemblance to changes in the health of humans, including the occurrence of tumour and immunodeficiencies, decreased life expectancy, early aging, changes in blood and the circulatory system, malformations and other factors that compromise health.
    ‘All the populations of plants, fishes, amphibians and mammals studied there are in poor condition …this zone is analogous to a ‘black hole’, in which there is accelerated genetic degeneration of large animals – some species may only persist there via immigration from uncontaminated areas …..
    I hear the tourist industry is doing well with trips to this zone, and obviously the nuclear industry wants us all to believe that excessive radiation isn’t all that bad. But according to some reports around 40% of the children near the Fukushima exclusion zone already have thyroid and other problems. Again, it depends who you believe – the government and nuclear industry or independent concerned scientists.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Margo thyroid is affected because its the weak link in the human body when it comes to radiation.
    During Fukushima large amounts of iodized salts were used if I remember correctly to safe guard the thyroid in these children and adults in that buffer zone. In fact these iodized pills were in short supply on the west coast after the fallout happened:

    Iodine tablets: how iodine protects the thyroid from radiation – Los ……/la-heb-iodine-tablets-radiation-quake…

    Eryn Brown

    by Eryn Brown – in 33 Google+ circles – More by Eryn Brown
    Mar 14, 2011 – The International Atomic Energy Agency said over the weekend that Japan had “distributed 230000 units of stable iodine to evacuation centres”

    I worked in the SURGICAL DECON TEAM at Cecil field fl near Yellow water nuke storage facility and we moved these weapons on occassion with complete lockdown of all facilities during movement. Thats when I was at NRMC Hospital back in the early 1980s when then SG Koop was starting his lectures to us on smoking.

    Anyway in NBC warfare if you get inhalation we take you into a irradiation tent and scan you to determine what type radiation youve gotton. If its in the lungs we use a surgical kit to puncture the lung at the lower lobe from the side. Then flush it with sterile water thru a tube into a special bucket thats scanned each time a complete flush is done,this is repeated until the level is below a pre-determined level. Then then after that lung is reestablished and breathing properly we do the otherside.

    Now if you have fall out as what happened on the west coast and worldwide when these reactor breakdowns happen. We monitor dose levels in the air via stations. The way it works is on 6-8 hour time durations. You have peak fallout and then you have residual fallouts depending on prevailing winds. After a wind comes thru the radiation is comming down to earth slowly and you take hourly measures to know when its safe to come out until the next wave of higher particles.

    I cant remember all the actual steps in collecting all the data sets. But these levels are down to a science. The safe levels were determined back in the 1940s thru the 1960s to differing types of radiation. ALPHA,BETA not bad……….you get a Neutron bomb forget it your dead! Nuetron radiation can penetrate 20-30 feet of concrete and lead lining from what I remember,but it doesnt destroy anything,its simply a radiation bomb.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Remember these particles are Emitters of radiation some a mere milimeter range others much farther. Thats when half lifes come into play. But there still learning each and everyday about radiation and its effects. But without radiation life would never exist. Its a killer and its a life giver. Dose makes the poison,propaganda makes the lie.

      • margo says:

        That is very interesting, HR. And you’re right about dose and propaganda, poison and lies. And there’s a lot yet to learn – and people trying to learn it but hampered at every turn by those with massive vested interests.

        • margo says:

          The end of life-as-we-know it by ever-increasing man-made radiation is going to be a very long, slow process. That’s why it’s so easy to be deceived and so hard to find out the truth. Meanwhile, blame smoking, drinking and obesity, and carry on regardless.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    If a law is unjust
    A man is not just right to disobey
    He is obligated to do so

    Thomas Jefferson

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Study: RI No. 5 in US for cigarette smuggling
    High tax rate contributes to illegal sales

    Updated: Thursday, 24 Jan 2013, 2:53 PM EST
    Published : Thursday, 24 Jan 2013, 2:53 PM EST

    By Dan McGowan, Reporter

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Nearly 40% of the cigarettes sold in Rhode Island are illegally smuggled in from other states, according to a report released by the Washington D.C.-based Tax Foundation.

    At 39.8%, the report ranked Rhode Island fifth in the country for smuggling rates in 2011, behind only Washington, New Mexico, Arizona and New York, which tops the list at 60.9%. The Ocean State ranked first in smuggling in 2006.

  7. smokervoter says:

    I’m ten days late and a couple of pounds short here, but this is a comment to Send Me to Timbuktu.

    Now that we know that you can once again safely smoke in Timbuktu, how about Fez, Morocco next?

    How I would love to be a French fighter pilot over the Sahara right now taking aim at the barbaric al-Qaeda Islamo Puritans who caned people there for smoking.

    As they say in French: cible détruite! (target destroyed).

  8. smokervoter says:

    So what’s Fez got to do with it?

    I serendipitously spotted this Timbuktu situation by round about way of Fez, Morocco (home to the funny looking headpiece) which in turn was stumbled upon by way of a lengthy thread with Frank on latitudinal weather similarities here at Banging On.

    This was from almost a year and a half back:
    Timbuktu – Banging On – The New Astrologers

    The Fez/Timbuktu connection is two comments up and The New Astrologers is worth a reread in of itself.

    But this comment had its roots in an extensive older thread on cold/warm weather in Frank’s Livejournal blog

    Be sure and read the thread through to the end.
    Almost three years ago it was.

    For some reason the thought of not being able to have a smoke from here to Timbuktu fills me with a numb, hopeless sense of utter defeat.

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