Eurasian lynx, Racoon dog, European grey wolf and Brown bears are just some of the species that have been seen to thrive in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ), adapting to the absence of human interference.
Camera traps, automatic cameras that are triggered when an animal walks passed the camera are becoming a key tool in wildlife research and conservation. By estimating abundance and forest ecology we can use data from camera traps to understand population dynamics within an area, particularly in an area such as the CEZ which is deemed unsuitable for humans.
Home to a high diversity of wildlife, the CEZ is an area of contaminated landscape that the project Transfer, Exposure, Effects (TREE) hopes to “reduce uncertainty in estimating the risk to humans and wildlife associated with exposure to radioactivity, and to reduce unnecessary conservatism in risk calculations”.
They have so far recorded 12 mammalian species.
These cameras have also recorded the first ever sighting of a Brown Bear in this area.
Yes, the animals are thriving but are they affected by the radioactive exposure as they move through the 30km zone? Considering this, ultimately Scientists associated with the project hope to use this data to answer this question by radio collaring suitable species.
I look forward to seeing more photos from this project and future results of how the animals are adapting to the environment.
Here are some more photos caught by the cameras in the zone. They show that the species are adapting well, travelling in large groups and camouflaging into the surrounding terrain.
Some of my personal favourites were the photos caught of the Pzrewalski’s horse, which were purposely released as part of a conservation programme and have seen to be doing well, travelling in large groups and moving long distances within the zone.
Links related to post:
All photo credits: Sergey Gashchak (Chernobyl Center, Ukraine)
Featured photo – European grey wolf (Canis lupus lupus)