Saturday, April 08, 2017

Chernobyl zone becomes biosphere reserve as wildlife flourishes

The Ukrainian government has recently declared the territory around Chernobyl nuclear power plant as a biosphere reserve because wildlife in the abandoned area is flourishing without human presence.

On April 26, 1986, one of the worst nuclear accidents in human history occurred at the Chernobyl plant, when a series of explosions ripped through the reactor No. 4.

They sent the clouds of radiation in the air, forcing people living in the area of about 2,600 square kilometers around the plant to leave their homes forever.

Almost 31 years after the disaster, the population of wild animals in the 30-km-radius exclusion zone around the plant has risen significantly due to the absence of residential population and a ban on hunting, forestry, fishing and farming activities.

"The wildlife around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been self-restored. Many plants and animals that are included in the Red List of Threatened Species have returned to the area," said Vitaly Petruk, the head of the State Agency on exclusion zone management.

The population of wolves now exceeds the normal levels, Petruk said.

The disaster area also became a safe haven for rare species, such as deer, elk, lynx, owls and even brown bears, which previously were believed to have migrated from Ukraine.

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