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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Radioactive Wolves!

Last week I stumbled upon this recent PBS documentary called Radioactive Wolves, which is about wildlife in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a million of them. It was one of the most uplifting films I've seen in a long time. The comments below the film suggest I am not alone:
Amazing program: great work! So many fascinating, important issues raised — and I can’t get the haunting images out of my mind.

I thought the animal and plant life recovery was fascinating. As someone mentioned above…a lot of important issues were raised by this episode. I thoroughly enjoyed the program. Keep up the good work!

My son just returned from spending a week in the Ukraine. He toured Chernobyl…even fed the catfish and saw the wild horses. This episode was right on from he saw and experienced. It really let me share the experience vicariously. Thank you “Nature” for such a wonderful, thought-provoking episode.

This is the BEST show on TV I’ve seen in years! FASCINATING.

If I wasn’t already pro-nuclear energy before I would be more so now. This is critical info. If we destroy our world with our technology and self-serving greed then shame on us. But nice to know the planet and wildlife – and the way we were given this world to begin with – will survive.

Beautiful. Just as I remembered it. I worked for a few days in the zone and I was totally blown away by the richness and diversity of the life in the area. The frogs, and the hoopoes, the cuckoos, the wild pigs and the moose and the flowers and butterflies and… mosquitoes! When I came home to my socalled “healthy” and “unpolluted” home, I wandered around the forest just to compare and I found that my home is a sterile desert compared to the zone. It is indeed a strange feeling to know that the presence of humans are more detrimental to nature than the radioactivity from Chernobyl NPP. Choosing between me, you and Plutonium, nature would be better off with Plutonium than either of us.
There were, of course, also a few negative comments like this one (from a brainwashing victim) about unabashed brainwashing:
What utter, pro-nuke propaganda. Let’s see, now, twice the birth defect rate, though we’re supposed to think that’s OK since both rates are in the single digits. No mention that I recall (hard to watch such unabashed brainwashing) of longevity of populations in the dead zone compared to populations in clean environments. Comparing the “long-term” effects on relatively short-lived, and short-lived, animal populations with humans is simply not acceptable science. Just one more reason I despise the National Propaganda Network.
His claim that the film compared "the long-term effects on relatively short-lived, and short-lived, animal populations with humans..." is a strawman. No such comparison was made. When the narrator said "This land is lost to humans," I'm pretty sure he meant it. I'd have to watch the film again to be sure, but I don't think anything he said is correct. If you watch the film, let me know if I missed something.

There are a few scenes where people whore cheap dust masks to reduce exposure to potentially harmful radioactive dust, but for most of the film, nobody wears any protective clothing.

Darwin's as well as Einstein's theories were challenged by other scientists in their time. This is always the case for any theory and there are still some researchers claiming this area is not full of breeding populations of wildlife, but full of wildlife refugees who show up there only to die of radiation.

The area also has breeding populations of the European bison (wisent) and the last species of wild horse (Przewalski's) but there are no breeding populations of the giant wild ox known as the aurochs or the wild horse know as the tarpan ...because it's too late, they have already been driven to extinction. The last aurochs died on a game preserve in 1627. Ironically the wild horse population in the exclusion zone preserve is presently being decimated by poachers, so maybe there's no hope after all .

Chernobyl was a human tragedy that uprooted almost half a million people, but as far as wildlife is concerned, this film proves that low levels of radiation can be the least of two evils.

Photo courtesy of iam photography via Flickr

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