10 facts about animals living in the Chernobyl zone


Nearly forty years after the Chernobyl disaster, the world’s largest nuclear accident, the area is starting to show signs of life. Wild animals in Chernobyl live in a contaminated area, somehow keeping up with nature. The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, once considered uninhabitable, has turned into an animal and plant paradise, proving that life has somehow found its way. Let’s look at the details together👇

1. Animals in Chernobyl survived no matter what

On April 26, 1986, an explosion occurred at the 4th reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant due to a design malfunction and improper training of workers. While the disaster was devastating the environment, it turned out that the total amount of radiation was many times higher than hundreds of atomic bombs.

In the city of Pripyat, radiation caused by a natural disaster caused the leaves of thousands of trees to rust and gave the forest a new name: the Red Forest. The workers eventually bulldozed the radioactive trees. In addition, Soviet soldiers were ordered to shoot homeless animals within 1,000 square miles of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Today, many species of animals and plants have survived, although experts believe that parts of the region will remain dangerous to humans for another 20,000 years.

2. The lack of people made Chernobyl a new home for wildlife


The Chernobyl disaster opens up a world without people. Hunting in this area is absolutely illegal; people cannot live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. That is why nature has created its own habitat, independent of human activity. Few animal species live better in the Chernobyl exclusion zone than outside.

3. There are more bears and wolves in Chernobyl than people.


According to biologist Jim Beasley, the population of large mammals in the area far exceeded their pre-disaster population. Bears, wolves, lynxes, bison, deer, beavers, foxes, badgers, wild boars and raccoon dogs are just some of the species that lived in the radioactive Chernobyl. In addition to large animals, various amphibians, fish, worms, and bacteria also settled on no man’s land.

4. The population of an endangered breed of wild horses is starting to increase.


The Smithsonian’s National Institute of Zoos and Conservation Biology has called the Przewalski’s horse, or Mongolian horse, “the last true wild horse.” The horses that once spread across the vast territories of Asia and Europe are almost extinct. But British environmentalists studying the effects of radiation on Chernobyl wildlife have noticed that the number of Przewalski’s horses in Chernobyl has increased. In the late 1990s, about 30 Przewalski horses were released on the Ukrainian side of the irradiated area, and today the population has grown to over 200.

5 Radiation May Have Killed Bedbugs At Chernobyl


Unlike animals and plants, the number of insects and spiders in Chernobyl has been greatly reduced. A 2009 study in Biology Letters found that in some areas around the Chernobyl disaster area, insects were adversely affected by excess radiation.

A similar situation occurred after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. While the populations of birds, cicadas and butterflies have declined in Fukushima, other animals have not been affected.

6. Animals in Chernobyl are considered mutants

Scientists noted significant genetic changes in organisms affected by the elements. According to a 2011 Biological Conservation study, genetic mutations have increased 20-fold in plants and animals living in Chernobyl. We need more research to understand how increased mutation affects species reproduction rates, population size, genetic diversity, and other survival factors.

7. Mutation is not what you think

There are no two-headed bears or four-eyed fish like in the movies in this area. Animal mutation in Chernobyl very rarely causes some to grow faster.

The lifetime of cesium-137, one of the radioactive isotopes found in the region, is over 30 years. This isotope is deposited on some vegetables that animals eat, affecting others disproportionately. For example, it turned out that voles that ate radioactive mushrooms were less prolific, which led to a decline in the population.

8 Swallows Have Albinism

The swallows in the area were found to exhibit partial albinism, possibly as a result of genetic mutations due to radiation. In areas with high levels of radiation, the population of birds with smaller brains and fewer sperm has increased.

9 Chernobyl dogs were adopted

The descendants of dogs abandoned by their owners during the evacuation of the city on April 27, 1986, have been living in a deserted area for years. Now an organization called the Clean Future Foundation is helping to carry out sterilization campaigns in Chernobyl. They also provide medical care, vaccinations, and even food for Chernobyl puppies.

In 2018 and 2019, the radiation levels of several dogs were found to be safe for humans, and these dogs were adopted.

10. People live in restricted areas

Some of the Chernobyl dogs were adopted by people living in restricted areas. Some villages near the city, also known as the exclusion zone, are inhabited by large numbers of people with the tacit permission of the authorities. These residents are mostly women and elderly people who lived in the area before the disaster.

We have come to the end of our article. We wish you a good day.

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