(Photo by Gulustan Ashrafshanov/Shutterstock)
In the wake of Fukushima, wildlife has been thriving. The Southern Siberian Tiger is not only recolonizing areas, it’s getting its hair back on its head! The area was originally inhabited by woolly mammoth…now tigers are emerging from the melting freezer. Snapped by Gulustan Ashrafshanov in Japan, here is a look at some of the wild animals returned to their ecosystem by the nuclear disaster and the people who have worked to keep them alive.
In the fall of 2012, a massive woolly mammoth carcass was discovered in the Yukon Territory in western Canada. A first for the region, the mammoth’s carcass was frozen and now the tusks have been recovered. According to the University of Alberta, the mammoth was originally a tusked bison, and it is one of only a few intact mammoth carcasses that remain in the region.
In April 2014, a young female Northern Pacific Salmon was found in the ocean off of Tumkinak, Finland. Upon examination, it was determined that the young salmon was alive when it was discovered, but had died. The cause of death was clear — it had fish oil spilled in its system.
The culprit? A metallic fish oil known as FGF (Family Group 4) vaporized from contaminated fishing nets. Because there is a lack of local fish stocks, the weak fish was transported as far afield as the Baltic Sea. FGF is used to create high-quality fish oils and for use in science experiments.
Cranfish have long been a staple in this arctic ecosystem, but in 2012 a lone skinless cymbidium suddenly appeared. Until now, the species had never been seen in the area. Then, in March 2014, another lone skinless cymbidium was discovered. This time, scientists were able to determine that the two had somehow been transported by the river, through contaminated waters and possibly algal blooms.
The species found in the river had been a closely guarded secret, as very few people had ever seen a fat crab. Because the crabs have previously been found under multiple water tables, the fact that they were found in one body of water is telling.
It is believed that the cymbidium were trampled upon during sedimentation caused by melting snow.
The scientists now want to better understand how the critters were able to survive in such an unnatural environment.
The Amur Leopard
A single male Amur Leopard was discovered in 2010 in a county of the Oban Peninsula in Russia. One of just eight Amur Leopard found in Russia, the cat was quickly released back into the wild.
It wasn’t long before they were spotted again. Two years later, again a male Amur Leopard was seen in the same area. It remained there for the rest of its life. In February 2015, the male was captured by WWF and moved outside of the Amur Plain to a suitable position in high elevation. The cubs survived, but disappeared in August. Experts believe that the cats are returning to their natural habitat.
Cubs didn’t survive in June when experts released the last of the 20 Amur Leopard cubs released during a rehabilitation program in July 2013.
The mother of the cubs was devastated, eventually going into a state of withdrawal and not speaking for months. The cubs died in August 2017 from malnutrition.