New life of exclusion zone: Chernobyl Animals

Chernobyl Focus | 27.6.2017

Rare species of animals and plants are found in Chernobyl zone, and a Biosphere Reserve might be established there

The area that has experienced intense pollution of long-lived radionuclides after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, has been closed for decades. There are almost no people, even animals have left the exclusion zone. Today the situation has changed for the better. In 2012 in Chernobyl first traces of bison were recorded. This species is considered to disappear in Ukraine’s wild nature, so their appearance in an area contaminated by radiation very surprised environmentalists.

 

The “zone,” as is it popularly known, has become an improbable sanctuary for other animals like Lynx,  and a growing population of Przewalski’s Horses, a wild equine released in the area in the 1990s. The extremely rare breed is doing so well in the area that herds are beginning to stray beyond the zone.

In late 2014, a camera trap set by Sergei Gashchak, a Ukrainian biologist who has pioneered research into Chernobyl’s biodiversity, recorded the presence of a brown bear – not an endangered species, but one that had not been recorded in the area for well over a century. They have been seen multiple times since. There are also many wolves, foxes, deer, elks, beavers, and other animals.

This is very important to create a biosphere reserve to wildlife was safe. In August 2016, the President of Ukraine has signed a decree on establishing a nature reserve in the 30 km Exclusion zone. This project would enable appropriate environmental measures to implement zoning and coordinate scientific research and monitoring. In addition, conservation areas meets the safety requirements as radionuclides has not disappeared. This is a great chance for nature to recover.

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