In the HBO series "Chernobyl", three heroic men are seen volunteering on a "suicide" mission in which they waded through radioactive water. Many people assume that the men died of radiation poisoning. But they didn't. In fact, two are still alive while the third died of unrelated heart disease in 2005.
After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, authorities placed a 30 kilometer exclusion zone around the former power plant. The results have been surprising. Wildlife is thriving within the exclusion zone - in effect creating one of Europe's largest wildlife preserves. Animals living in the exclusion zone suffer no discernible harm from the radiation, and benefit greatly from the near complete lack of human presence.
The California Condor ceased to exist in the wild in 1987 when all 27 remaining condors were captured for the purpose of saving the species. The intervention worked. After a few years of captive breeding, condors were re-released into the wild. Today the total population is over 500 and growing quickly.
The town of Monowi, Nebraska is the only incorporated place in the United States with a population of 1. Its sole resident, Elsie Eiler, serves as mayor. She grants herself a liquor license to operate a tavern and pays taxes to herself.
Old Blue was the name of a black robin who was the last fertile female of her species. This species, on an island off the east coast of New Zealand, was incredibly brought back from the brink of extinction in the 1980s. Today, there are more than 250 black robins, all descended from "Old Blue".