The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster of 2011 is believed to have leaked significant amounts of radiation that may have affected animals and plants in the region.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is located in Japan and was commissioned in 1971. The nuclear power plant was severely damaged after an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale hit the region in March 2011. Since the calamity, the nuclear power plant has been disabled.

The damage at Fukushima was so high that the plant released radioactive material in the air and the government announced evacuation of 30 kilometers of area around the nuclear plant.

A recent study suggests that the radioactive material released in the air by the Fukushima nuclear disaster has led to widespread negative effects such as population decline and genetic damage in the animals, insects and wildlife of the region.

The researchers gave an example of the pale grass blue butterfly, which is a prevalent type of butterfly species found in Japan. The effect of radiation in the Fukushima region has led to the reduction in size of this species of butterfly. The pale grass blue butterfly is also experiencing slow growth and a high mortality rate in the region surrounding the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The scientists cite the Chernobyl disaster that occurred in April 1986 in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine and say that government agencies should compare the after effects of Chernobyl disaster and take relevant precautionary measures to stop further damage and revive the wildlife of areas surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.   

The researchers also gave an example of barn swallows found both near the Chernobyl disaster and Fukushima disaster areas. Researchers found that these birds found near the region of Chernobyl disaster developed unusual white spots on their plumage. Some researchers have found that barn swallows in the Fukushima disaster region are also showing similar traits with abnormal plumage.

A previous report also says that Japanese macaques, a species of monkey native to Japan, near the Fukushima disaster site showed low level of red and white blood corpuscles as well as declined levels of hemoglobin. The scientists suggest that the low blood cells in these monkeys may have been caused by radiation effects of the Fukushima disaster.

Dr. Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina and lead author of one of the studies suggests that detailed analysis on the natural population of the Fukushima area can help to find more information, which can help to predict recovery of the wildlife in the region.

"There is an urgent need for greater investment in basic scientific research of the wild animals and plants of Fukushima," says Mousseau.

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