Wildlife thriving around Fukushima plant, study reveals

In the last year, biologists have recovered more than 2,500 birds, mammals and reptiles around the disaster zone, new figures reveal

Wildlife has made a remarkable recovery around the former nuclear plant at Fukushima, a new study reveals.

More than 2,500 animals and plants were recovered since the disaster two years ago, it said.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) published the first count of wildlife rescued from the zone affected by the triple nuclear disaster in 2011.

The number of animals that recovered matches the figure given to the Guardian by a wildlife official who was part of the team tracking down them and tried to re-home them.

The study also says the water has returned to normal, although levels of radioactive materials remain higher than normal.

“After two years, there have been positive changes in all fronts,” Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the FAO, said. “Fauna are recovering; species are rebounding; ecosystem functions are still recovering.”

During the days after the accident, workers had to crawl on hands and knees for days around the reactors to remove highly contaminated water and transport it to a storage pool, as well as remove radioactive fuel rods and haul contaminated water from the reactor buildings for dismantling.

The recovery work is complex and is not finished, officials say.

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