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Group tour: $85

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World Without Humans. Radioactive Sanctuary

As we all know 30 years ago an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant forced people to leave a new beautiful city of Pripyat as well as every single residential section within 30 km zone around the plant. Nuclear fuel released into the air and to the ground was believed to contaminate the area so that no living being would be able to live there for the next centuries. Ukrainian officials kept the Zone restricted from tourist tours till 2011 and only then scientist from all over the world got a green light to study the aftermath of the radioactivity on plants and animals there. But was it a surprise indeed when the monitoring of wildlife started – the number of mammal species was bigger and more diverse than even 100 years ago.

Today’s radiation level in Pripyat and other places in the Zone are equal to the level of other cities and places in the world where people live. That may be one of the reasons the population of animals here was not lowering. The other possible reason is that the absence of humans for three decades gave a truly unique chance to wildness to retake the territory. Scientists got their Tours of Pripyat to explore the phenomena and put remote camera traps for more detailed research of the subject. Camera traps showed more than 14 species including the largest population of gray wolves.


Before the camera's confirmation, there were debates about the population of lynx in the Zone. But traps caught the appearance of the big cats so it’s out of question now. The latest data on the subject claims that there are about 100 lynxes during the summer period.


All scientists agree that the biodiversity in the area is not necessarily caused by changes in radiation level. They are pretty sure species abundance is a result of the human omission of lands.

The local biologist said that number of elk as much as the deer is rapidly growing and may be as high as 1500 per each ally. As Ukrainian government doesn't finance the wildlife research in the area the data is collected by local and foreign enthusiasts.


The largest and most noticeable species are wild boars and otters as they leave significant marks in the places they are moving through.


Confident and calm are wild Przewalski’s horses at a total number of about 100 species. Cameras show they are not afraid of wolves or other big predators. Beautiful creatures felt comfortable within the Zone lands, but unfortunately for the last few years, poachers and Ukrainian politicians made it popular to hunt inside the exclusion zone.


That is the main reason the number of Przewalski horses along with foxes, wolves, and Bison are being on the decrease today.


Things of this nature can serve as an index of how nature is doing well where human is not harassing it, and how fast it can be extirpated once people step a foot on the wildlife lands.

Nature overpowered former cities and villages, absorbing radioactive particles and making urban landscapes look like post-apocalyptical jungles. Thousands of visitors came to wonder here every year as Tours of Pripyat can show the world from the side one would never experience in any other place on Earth. But what would happen to all the eco-diversity if the Zone is not approved to be a biosphere reserve? Who would be the most dangerous predator on Earth then?