In April 1986, a catastrophic accident took place at the Power Plant ne e’s border with , spewing out vast amounts of ous ive debris. Today, the Eclusion Zone (CEZ) spans 2,600 kilometers (1,000 ). It’s almost void of , but for the country’s it’s an inviting wilderness in which to thrive.

, a study, published in the Food Webs, adds to the evidence that ’s s e well and truly flourishing.

A rerch from the , who have been investigating the CEZ’s rents for yes, recently set up an to investigate the ea’s scavengers. They placed whole p a the of and canals and set up traps to any critters that showed up for a snack.

Analyzing their foot, the spotted 15 different – 10 and five . The d three species of mice, raccoon , wolves, n mink, and Eurn otters. Among the were tawny owls, jays, magpies, and white-tled s. Ecitingly, the rerchers had never seen a handful of these species in the ea before.

“We’ve seen evidence of a of in the CEZ through our previous rerch, but this is the that we’ve seen white-tled s, n mink and river otter on our s,” sd study in a statement.  

The n mink, native to North , is uy an brought to by the fur industry. Emi/Shutterstock

A previous study by Beasley and his colleagues in 2015 found abundant populations of like elk, , bo, and wolves in the CEZ.

For their study, the focused just on scavengers, and were pleased to discover that 98 percent of the they’d left out had been demolished – a sign of a very y scavenger and, in turn, a blossoming wider ecosy

“This is a high rate of scavenging, and given that our casses were consumed by terrestrial or semi-aquatic species, it verifies that the movement of nutritional resources between aquatic and terrestrial ecosys occurs more frequently than often recognized,” eplned Beasley.  

“We to think of and aquatic s as staying in the aquatic ecosy. This rerch shows us that if a able proportion of dead make it to shore, t is an entire group of terrestrial and semi-aquatic species that transfer those aquatic nutrients to the terrestrial .”

The rerchers found that the were scavenged most efficiently when placed by the river as they were easier to spot, but that species richness was est ound the canals. This is because the canals e surrounded by more vegetation, providing a r for s that prefer to lay low.

The note that their findings reveal the presence of a “highly efficient of vertebrate scavengers” in the CEZ, an feature of any y ecosy. It seems the abandoned CEZ is an unepected haven for much of e’s .    

The white-tled is ’s lgest . Jerry Bouwmeester 


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