This hellish inferno became a sort of paradise for wild animals - at least on the surface. They thrive with no humans to prey upon them, but nobody fully understands how the nuclear poisons have altered their genetic makeup, the extent of their migration or their interactions with the adjacent "safe" areas. Grotesque mutations have been reported, but official science deny that.
Populations of wolves and wild boars grow rapidly. They occupying the abandoned houses and sheds. They are curiously unagressive here. Maybe that has something to do with the food supply which plentiful for all species except man, but contaminated. It's not unusual to see a wolf, a fox, a wild boar or a wild deer casually crossing the road.
These are Prejevalsky Horses. Someone brought a couple of them from Asia a few years ago, they liked it here and now there are 3 herds running in Chernobyl area. They are a sturdy breed and are always on the move. They have a prehistoric look about them. When they sweep by at full gallop, it feels like you might see a herd of ancient Eohippus next. Zoologists also brought two American Bisons to the area, but the idea to breed them didn't work out. The male bison run away. I don't know if he run away from Radiation or from his bride, but he was last seen in Belorussia, heading west. He may have decided to return to America.
This is the town of Chernobyl.
Geiger counter reading here now is 20-80 microroentgens, depending of where you stay. This place is what I call a zombie town, which means that all native population was evacuated in May 1986. Since then town was cleaned a lot and later it became the base for Atomic Power Plant workers.
During times of nuclear fallout, deposition by the wind becomes the major factor. Spreading death in some places, it randomly grants mercy over others. Town of Chernobyl is located just 12 kms on south from reactor if we travel by air. In the first days after accident the level of radiation here was not high. Remarkable, considering at this time the radiation from Chernobyl had already hit Northern Europe. This was still a secret and in Sweden they started looking for leakage from their own nuclear plants. Wind changed direction on May 1st and morning reading showed here 24 milliroentgen an hour. The radioactive clouds have drifted through this place, killed it and went to Kiev, to take part in our famous Labor Day Milliroentgen Parade.
We passing it through.