Study finds wolves prefer Chernobyl zone over nearby parks

It has been almost three decades since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and there's still an exclusion zone in place prohibiting humans from returning. That exclusion zone, naturally, doesn't apply to wildlife, which researchers have found are returning to the area in droves. According to a new international study published this week in the Current Biology journal, the Chernobyl zone — which is about 4200 square kilometers — is packed full of wildlife.

Wolves seem to have a particular fondness for the exclusion zone, which is found to have about seven times more wolves than nearby parks. Researchers used an aerial system of some sort to observe the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and they found that the number of wildlife is, at a minimum, back to where it was before the disaster happened.

Chernobyl, of course, was the site of a nuclear reactor explosion and subsequent fire back in 1986. It has been void of humans since, and now decades later appears to be a favorite for local wildlife. In fact, researchers believe it is likely the number of wildlife within the zone is higher than it was before the explosion happened.

It is important not to make assumptions about the cause of the high wildlife numbers, though; the there's still radiation, it just seems that it is less of a problem for wildlife than regions nearby in which humans reside. The number of deer, elk, and wild boar present now is higher than it was up to a decade ago.

SOURCE: Yahoo News