How long does it take for nature and ecosystems to recover? On Saturday 26 April 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant experienced a nuclear accident that resulted in the worst nuclear disaster in history. The city of Pripyat was evacuated the following day and has remained abandoned since. It falls inside the exclusion zone of the disaster and is too dangerous for people to live in. The BBC documentary Our Planet Episode 8 Forests, shows how the forest, wildlife and apex predators have taken over the abandoned city. In 30 years, the endangered Przewalski's horse, which had been driven to extinction in the wild, now roams through the abandoned city in herds. Wolves within the exclusion zone outnumber those outside of it. Apex predators such as wolves only return if their prey and surrounding area are flourishing.
Episode 4 Coastal Seas, highlights a tropical success story: Recovery in Raja Ampat. Protection of the reefs has won over the local communities, including the fishermen as fish numbers rise in the recovering seas. Within a lifetime, conversation efforts have improved the ecosystem and the lives of the community that depend on it for survival.
Given the chance, ecosystems on land and in the water are able to restore themselves to abundant numbers within relatively short periods of time. With conscious efforts on our part to reduce our waste and manage our resources, we can have sustainable cities and communities that work with nature.
Conservation projects such as the Cape Nature Conservation project and the Ocean Conservation project work toward protecting the natural and indiginous plant life, wildlife and marine life in South Africa through education, conservation and research.
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