Wolf and elk in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Pictures by Sergey Gaschak.
THE RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT ZONE HAS TURNED INTO A REFUGE
After 300,000 people had to abondon Chernobyl after the catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986, wildlife have been thriving in the area - including large packs of wolves. Fields, villages and towns are replaced with forests and wetlands, and the fallout zone is now the largest wildlife sanctaury in Europe.
Despite the radioactivity in the area, animals seem to be as good as unafected, and the wildlife of Chernobyl is considered healthy. Journalist Mary Mycio writes:
“According to all the population counts performed by Ukraine and Belarus over the past 27 years, there is enormous animal diversity and abundance. The prevailing scientific view of the exclusion zone has become that it is an unintentional wildlife sanctuary. This conclusion rests on the premise that radiation is less harmful to wildlife populations than we are.”