Researcher's hidden cameras catch amazing images at Chernobyl

Sergey Gashchak is a well-known specialist in the field of radioecology. He's spent many years researching the area around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor that had a meltdown in 1986 and he's become an expert in the flora and fauna of the region.

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To learn more about how the wildlife has developed since the area was evacuated after the disaster, Sergey installed several hidden cameras. He was so amazed with the images they captured that he not only contacted his scientific colleagues, but also informed the Ukrainian government and later posted the photos on the internet for the whole world to see.

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After the nuclear disaster 31 years ago, the region surrounding the reactor was abandoned. But little by little, nature began to make a comeback.

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Sergey's photos have captured the lively fauna that now calls the region home.

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With no humans around, a wide range of animals have flourished in the area. Even some endangered species have taken refuge there.

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One of these endangered species is the black stork. They are rarely seen anywhere else in the country, but seem to be surviving near Chernobyl. Here you can see one building a nest...

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They also like to soak up the sun when the weather is nice.

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This lesser spotted eagle also appears to be enjoying the sun.

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And here's a red lynx with one of its offspring.

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The researchers didn't expect to see this animal. It's been over 100 years since a bear was seen in the region, but it looks like they're back!

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Another endangered species, the Przewalski horse, is also doing well in this human-free zone.

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Day and night, the animals seem to be enjoying their new habitat.

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But nature has its cruel side and predators need to eat...

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This moose found the hidden camera and enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame.

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According to experts, the region is still not inhabitable for humans or animals. But nature seems to have a different opinion.

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Sergey and his supporters want to use these photos to raise awareness about the wonderful natural recovery the area has experienced. Unfortunately there are people who enter the region illegally to hunt or dump industrial waste.

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Environmental activists are campaigning to convince the government to turn the region into a national park.

You can see more photos from Sergey's hidden cameras in this video (in Russian):

Considering what humans did to this area, it would be a shame if they had the chance to destroy it again. One can only hope that the government listens to Sergey and other activists and takes steps to protect the plants and animals that have managed to reclaim this beautiful wilderness.

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