In April 1986, a catastrophic nuclear accident took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Ukraine’s border with Belarus, spewing out vast amounts of dangerous radioactive debris. Today, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) spans 2,600 square kilometers (1,000 square miles). It’s almost void of human life, but for the country’s wildlife, it’s an inviting wilderness in which to thrive. Now, a new study, published in the journal Food Webs , adds to the evidence that Chernobyl’s wild animals are well and truly flourishing . A research team from the University of Georgia, who have been investigating the CEZ’s wild residents for years, recently set up an experiment to investigate the area’s scavengers. They placed whole carp along the banks of rivers and canals and set up camera traps to snap any critters that showed up for a snack. Analyzing their footage, the team spotted 15 different vertebrates – 10 mammals and five birds. The mammals included three species of mice, raccoon dogs, wolves, American mink, and Eurasian otters. Among the birds were tawny owls, jays, magpies, and white-tailed eagles. Excitingly, the researchers had never seen a handful of these species in the area before. "We’ve seen evidence of […]

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