Recently in Chernobyl Animals Category

This video shows a large number of catfish that live in the cooling pond at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. In the video, you can also see an albino catfish.

These catfish are huge, but their size has nothing to do with radiation or contamination within the cooling pond. They are large because there are no predators in the pond and they eat very well.

A popular local tradition during many trips to Chernobyl is to stop at the small store/bar in Chernobyl town and purchase loaves of bread. After arriving at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, visitors can step onto a small bridge, break off large chunks of bread and feed the catfish.

For more information about wildlife in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, visit

Video: Rabid Wolf at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

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My friend Sergey recently posted two videos of a wolf encounter at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.  The wolf, which was apparently affected by rabies, tried repeatedly to enter a building at the Chernobyl Plant.

Here are the videos:

You can also read about wolves and the rabies problem in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone on Sergey's website,

Google translate version of wolves and rabies article

Wolf Attack in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone


On August 29, 2009, a wolf in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone attacked six workers at a sanitary facility near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The wolf, which exhibited signs of rabies, rushed the workers before they had time to get to safety.

As a result of the attack, four workers from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and two workers from the contractor Ukrenergomontazh were injured. All victims were hospitalized in specialized health care units in Slavutych and Ivankov. Their conditions are described as satisfactory.

The wolf was later shot and killed by Chernobyl police officers in the area of the long-term waste storage facility near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Kiev area veterinarians performed tests and confirmed the wolf had rabies.

My friend Sergiy has more information on his website about wolves in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Photo courtesy of

Video: Moose in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone


Recent video of a bull moose in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone:

Video courtesy of

Video: Owlet Found in Chernobyl Forest


A May 2009 scientific expedition captured video of an owlet inhabiting a forest in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone:

Video courtesy of
The following video was recently shot in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. It shows a pack of wild dogs chasing wild boar. The incident took place approximately one kilometer from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

Chernobyl Radiation Harming Animals

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A recent study by Anders Moller and Timothy Mousseau published in the latest issue of Royal Society Biology Letters indicates continuous exposure to low doses of radiation has been harmful to animals living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.  Mousseau is the directory of the Chernobyl Research Initiative at the University of South Carolina.

The report, titled “Reduced abundance of insects and spiders to radiation at Chernobyl 20 years after the accident,” determined that insect, bird and other animal populations have dramatically diminished since the April 1986 accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

The three year study included population censuses of invertebrates at more than 700 sites near Chernobyl. At each site, researchers measured radiation levels and counted bumblebees, butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies and spider webs.

The insect study was inspired by prior work with birds, when researchers noticed a decline in grasshopper populations and lowered fruit production.

The current study is also analyzing wolf, fox, rabbit, squirrel and other animal populations. Scientists are not ready to release findings about these animals, but the insect study and previous bird surveys indicate that many species are either absent or in very low numbers in the Chernobyl region.

The downward population trend appears to be due to:

  • Accumulation of radiation in some species over many generations through ingestion of contaminated dirt, water and food
  • As one animal or insect population declines, another might take its place. This new “replacement” species may also become contaminated, thus reducing its later survival rates.
These recent studies suggest that as a result of the above processes, the Chernobyl ecosystem has never fully recovered and remains in distress. Further, these studies have identified mutations in many different species of birds, plants, animals and humans.

Photo: T. Mousseau

My friend Sergei, a senior scientist who works in the town of Chernobyl, has posted a report and video of a recent three-day expedition in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. One goal of the trip was determining the habitat of wolves and conducting a wolf count.

The report can be found here (in Russian):

... and the expedition's video of Chernobyl wolves (2009):

The expedition also found evidence of lynx, deer, horses and wild boar.

Video of deer (2009):

Video of Wild Przewalski's Horses (2009):

Video of Wild Boar (2009):

And finally, an older video of Wild Boars from 2007: