CC BY 4.0 Wild boar in a former village near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. (Photo: Valeriy Yurko) In the 30+ years since the disaster zone was evacuated, rare and endangered animals are flourishing. In 1986, the stuff of disaster movies and dystopian nightmares came to life with the fire and explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine. The disaster released 400 times more radioactive material than was released by the bombing of Hiroshima, making large swaths of surrounding areas unsafe for human habitation. Today, the inadvertently poetic “Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation,” also known as the Exclusion Zone, covers 1,000 square miles (2,600 square kilometers) in Ukraine and 800 square miles (2,100 square kilometers) in Belarus. Prior to the accident, the region was the home to some 120,000 people living in the cities of of Chernobyl and Pripyat. Now with just a few handfuls of human holdouts, the ghost towns and outskirts are enjoying the most ironic of comebacks – wildlife is flourishing in the absence of mankind. We have covered this before, first when researchers found an abundant mammal community , regardless of the radiation. They found a rare Przewalski’s horse and […]

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