Jun 12 2007

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone National Wildlife Refuge

by in Eastern Europe & the Caucasus, Ukraine

Here’s an interesting, and somewhat timely, AP article on the “thriving” wildlife population in the radiation soaked area surrounding the former Chernobyl nuclear (uh, “nucular”?) plant:

Two decades after an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant sent clouds of radioactive particles drifting over the fields near her home, Maria Urupa says the wilderness is encroaching. Packs of wolves have eaten two of her dogs, the 73-year-old says, and wild boar trample through her cornfield. And she says fox, rabbits and snakes infest the meadows near her tumbledown cottage.

“I’ve seen a lot of wild animals here,” says Urupa, one of about 300 mostly elderly residents who insist on living in Chernobyl’s contaminated evacuation zone.

The return of wildlife to the region near the world’s worst nuclear power accident is an apparent paradox that biologists are trying to measure and understand.

Many assumed the 1986 meltdown of one reactor, and the release of hundreds of tons of radioactive material, would turn much of the 1,100-square-mile evacuated area around Chernobyl into a nuclear dead zone.

It certainly doesn’t look like one today.

Yeah, we’ll see.

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5 Responses to The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone National Wildlife Refuge

  1. From john:

    You should find this site most interesting:
    The author rides a Kawasaki Ninja through the deserted Chernobyl “dead zone” with a camera, a good eye, Geiger counter, and a good deal of courage. The pictures and comments in this travelogue are absolutely fascinating.

    Posted on June 13, 2007 at 11:27 pm #
  2. From Lindsay:

    Hey John,
    I’m actually heading out there myself…we’re supposed to tour on July 4, although it will likely be in a mini-van and not a motorcycle 😉

    Posted on June 14, 2007 at 8:13 pm #
  3. From john:

    Excellent. (And good choice on the mini-van.) Then Elena’s website and her info will be great prelude, and perhaps provide some good background for your upcoming travels.
    As for me – an old, Cold War Warrior – so many of the places you visit were very verboten for me, back in the day. Thus I am fascinated by your travels to “certain lands” and “places” that I only remember as being labeled “Top Secret” on classified maps littered with enemy anti-aircraft missile sites, and other unnatural ‘things’.
    And while I can now travel to these many and formerly forbidden places, I am almost as happy traveling vicariously with you and others.
    So thank you for your wonderful travelogues. After a lifetime of traveling myself, yours gives me a pleasant chance to relax at home in sunny SoCal (with surf and Rubio’s fish taco’s, and In & Out Burgers) , yet still enjoy some of the world-wide adventures.

    Posted on June 15, 2007 at 2:59 am #
  4. From El Capitan:

    Of course they failed to mention the three Godzilla sightings in the radioactive zone.
    Selective reporting.

    Posted on June 15, 2007 at 12:36 pm #


  1. Dispatches from Chernobyl, Part III: The ghosts of Pripyat | At Home In The Wasteland Travel Blog - September 17, 2011

    […] the lush green landscape below, hoping to catch a glimpse of the rampaging packs of wild boar that were apparently proliferating throughout the exclusion zone – or so our guide claimed. We didn’t see […]

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