When people hear about Chernobyl and the exclusion zone, they tend to imagine it like an abandoned and lifeless land. However, after people left the Chernobyl zone in 1986, it has become home for many wild and even endangered animal species. The case of Chernobyl animals is quite unusual and interesting for scientists all over the world as this area was considered to be not suitable for life after the disaster. Such conclusion was fairly reasonable because of the life-threatening amount of radiation in Chernobyl and the exclusion zone.
30 years after the evacuation, only animals, civil servants and few families, who returned, are living there nowadays. Without human interference, the wildlife in Chernobyl thrives. An interesting issue is the impact of the Chernobyl disaster on animals. Surely, an excessive radiation exposure negatively affects the flora and fauna. It is difficult to assess the full scale of the real effects of the disaster.
Recent scientific studies show the widespread of mutations and diseases of animals in Chernobyl. However, they also point out the growing number of animals and species diversity.
Scientists are actively researching the wild life in the Chernobyl zone. They install safe cameras, which record Chernobyl wildlife. Wild animals that had not been seen in this area for decades were filmed. For example, brown bears, lynxes, wolves. The population of rare animals such as the white-tailed eagles, cranes, owls, otters, and bison has increased. The populations of Przewalski’s horses, deer, and wild pigs have significantly grown; the ponds are filled with fish. Giant catfishes, living near the nuclear power plant, have become the favorite tourist attraction. Although, scientists said that such huge size of catfishes is not a radiation exposure impact. In addition, there is no chance to encounter mutant creatures in the Chernobyl zone, because usually animals with mutations die quickly after their birth.
Nowadays some animal populations are growing so much that animals migrate to other regions in search of food. It happens that wolves migrate even to neighboring Belarus and attack cattle far from the zone.
As we can see, the impact of the Chernobyl disaster on the animal world was not so fatal. Of course, there are some areas with an extremely dangerous level of radiation. Yet, some of these areas are quite habitable.
Scientists plan to establish a biosphere reserve in the Chernobyl zone. In future that would preserve many varieties of animals and plants.
Tours to the Chernobyl zone are very popular among foreigners who are looking for extreme and unusual experience. You could visit Chernobyl and Pripyat with our professional guides and see one of the most exceptional places with your own eyes.