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Wildlife Abounds in Chernobyl Radioactive Zone October 9, 2015
Chernobyl wildlife in exclusion zone
The entrance to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone's wildlife refuge, and bison living within its boundaries.
Large mammals are thriving in the radioactive landscape around Ukraine’s Chernobyl power plant almost 30 years after humans were forced to evacuate the area.

A new study reveals that some wildlife populations, including elk, deer, wolves and wild boar, are higher than they were before the world’s worst nuclear accident.

“These results demonstrate for the first time that, regardless of potential radiation effects on individual animals, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone supports an abundant mammal community,” researchers said in their report.

But lead scientist Jim Smith of Britain’s University of Portsmouth cautions that the numbers do “not mean that radiation is good for wildlife.”

He said that human activities now absent from the exclusion zone, such as hunting, farming and forestry, are probably worse for the animals.