The world's worst ever nuclear disaster took place at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine back in 1986, and its effects are still being felt today. A 30-km (19-mile) exclusion zone is in place around the disaster site, which is still highly contaminated with the radiation released following the accident.

While not fit for human habitation, wildlife has made a remarkable comeback in the exclusion zone; there are said to be more than 60 different types of mammals living there including wild boar and elk. Wolves are doing especially well, with a population that is seven times the size of wolf populations in neighboring reserves.

Far from becoming the barren wasteland that many predicted after the catastrophic event the area has, in the absence of humans, become host to a great biodiversity. It really shows the power of nature to recover when left alone without us around to get in the way of things!

Proof of this can be seen in this fascinating list compiled by Bored Panda. Marvel at the way that grey concrete blocks are gradually giving way to greenery, as plants and trees slowly engulf the ruins of the former Soviet town. You can also meet some of the local wildlife celebrities, who are looking remarkably healthy considering the highly contaminated land around them.

So scroll down below to see Mother Nature majestically reclaiming her territory, and let us know what you think in the comments!

#1

I Finally Met The Famous Pripyat Fox Simon

I Finally Met The Famous Pripyat Fox Simon

m__olegovna Report

Han 1 month ago

Simon is fine. :)

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The accident at Chernobyl was caused by human error. According to Reuters, facility operators, in violation of safety regulations, had switched off important control systems at the plant’s reactor number four and allowed it to reach unstable, low-power conditions.

A power surge led to a series of blasts, at 1.24 a.m., which blew off the reactor’s heavy steel and concrete lid and sent a cloud of radioactive dust billowing across northern and western Europe, reaching as far as the eastern United States. The cloud of radioactive strontium, caesium and plutonium affected mainly Ukraine and neighboring Belarus, as well as parts of Russia and Europe.

#2

Meet Simon, The Red Fox Of The Radioactive Red Forest

Meet Simon, The Red Fox Of The Radioactive Red Forest

avoidingregret.com Report

SirPatTheCat 1 month ago

....uhh is that the same fox? Do they grow winter coats? Does Simon just refer to all red foxes seen in the area? Many questions...

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#3

Tree Growing On The 8th Floor

Tree Growing On The 8th Floor

http://grandcanyon.free.fr Report

Luis Milian 1 month ago

this one is amazing. I love seen this on man made places

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The Chernobyl Forum, a group of eight U.N. agencies, and the governments of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, have estimated the death toll at only a few thousand as a result of the explosion.

U.N. agencies have said some 4,000 people will die in total because of radiation exposure. 

However, the environmental group Greenpeace puts the eventual death toll far higher than official estimates, with up to 93,000 extra cancer deaths worldwide, while the Chernobyl Union of Ukraine, a non-government body, estimates the present death toll from the disaster at almost 734,000.

#4

Today Our Team Came Across The Burial Site Of A Beloved Pet In Chernobyl

Today Our Team Came Across The Burial Site Of A Beloved Pet In Chernobyl

CleanFutureFund Report

Donna Rakowiecki 1 month ago

I would think that there a few people living inside the exclusion zone. That feed the cats now and then. Perhaps people on the run and hiding out or little old lady who simply wouldn't leave. Or perhaps live just over the boundary and they check on things now and then

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#5

Nature Taking Over Pripyat. What Is The Cost Of Lies?

Nature Taking Over Pripyat. What Is The Cost Of Lies?

chernobyltvshow Report

Väinö-Oskari Astala 1 month ago

"Look at my works, ye mighty, and despair" -Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818

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The disaster was the object of a cover-up by secretive Soviet authorities who did not immediately admit to the explosion.

Eventually, a make-shift cover — the ‘Sarcophagus’ — was built, in the six months after the explosion. It covers the stricken reactor to protect the environment from radiation for at least 30 years. This has now developed cracks, triggering an international effort to fund a new encasement. Radioactive nuclear fuel is still being removed from the plant today.

#6

Przewalski's Horses

Przewalski's Horses

A group of Przewalski's horses grazing in the Chernobyl Exclusion zone. In the background the New Safe Confinement ("Sarcophagus 2") can be seen.

Michael Kötter Report

Rameka 1 month ago

The horses are settled by the government to eat the withered grass which would be burn in the summer and spread again the radioactive dust in the atmosphere.

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#7

An Old Phone Box Hidden Away In The Undergrowth In Pripyat. Unused Since 1986

An Old Phone Box Hidden Away In The Undergrowth In Pripyat. Unused Since 1986

essextoeverywhere Report

Daniela-Iulia Balaciu 1 month ago

strangely nice idea, an phone-box in the middle of nowhere, maybe the forest spirits needs to make calls time to time

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But how have plants and animals survived and flourished despite the high levels of radiation? It is true, radiation does have real, harmful effects on flora and fauna, and may shorten the lives of individual plants and animals. But if life-sustaining resources are in abundant enough supply and burdens are not fatal, then life will flourish.

According to Science Alert, the burden brought by radiation at Chernobyl is less severe than the benefits reaped from humans leaving the area. The Chernobyl exclusion zone is now "essentially one of Europe's largest nature preserves, the ecosystem supports more life than before, even if each individual cycle of that life lasts a little less."

"In a way, the Chernobyl disaster reveals the true extent of our environmental impact on the planet. Harmful as it was, the nuclear accident was far less destructive to the local ecosystem than we were. In driving ourselves away from the area, we have created space for nature to return."

#8

Nature Wins The Battle Against Civilization

Nature Wins The Battle Against Civilization

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D H 1 month ago

nature always wins

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#9

30 Years Later, Pripyat Has Turned Into A Sort Of Nature Reserve

30 Years Later, Pripyat Has Turned Into A Sort Of Nature Reserve

swagiliciously Report

The Girl on Fire 1 month ago

It looks very post apocalyptic

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#10

Overgrown House In Zalissya (Village Inside Chernobyl Exclusion Zone)

Overgrown House In Zalissya (Village Inside Chernobyl Exclusion Zone)

GriffinIsleham Report

MissPrideGirl 1 month ago

The grass looks so green.

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#11

Nature Wins The Battle Against Civilization

Nature Wins The Battle Against Civilization

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Magpie 1 month ago

For thirty years I would expect a lot more damage to the wooden window frames. "damage" meaning growth of moss / ivy / weeds.

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#12

The Buildings In Pripyat Have Not Received Maintenance For More Than 30 Years, Here In The Hospital The Dereliction Is Obvious

The Buildings In Pripyat Have Not Received Maintenance For More Than 30 Years, Here In The Hospital The Dereliction Is Obvious

charlie.tango.chernobyl Report

Vaida Kuodytė 1 month ago

Doesn't help that everywhere was looted and vandalised... :(

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#13

Pripyat Hospital

Pripyat Hospital

A very huge building in Pripyat. In the basement lies the clothes of firemen who where first to the accident site after the meltdown. The room with the clothes is one of the most radioactive spots in the whole exclusion zone

Mark Hakansson Report

Felicia Dale 1 month ago

:(

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#14

Chernobyl - Children's Camp "Emerald"

Chernobyl - Children's Camp "Emerald"

Michael Kötter Report

Mark 1 month ago

"If you go down in the woods today"

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#15

Chernobyl Bus Station

Chernobyl Bus Station

Brook Ward Report

Phantom Captain 1 month ago

Beautiful, but so eerie

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#16

May 2019

May 2019

pripyat.city1970 Report

miaow 1 month ago

This one is pleasant. The flowers are pink and pretty, nothing stops them at being healthy and happy ^^

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#17

Pripyat Is No Longer The Ghost Town What It Was. Now It Is Consumed By The Forest And Plants. Nature Persistently Takes It Back

Pripyat Is No Longer The Ghost Town What It Was. Now It Is Consumed By The Forest And Plants. Nature Persistently Takes It Back

spoilt.exile Report

Catlady6000 1 month ago

It's almost a holy place. I wish I could go there

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#18

Pripyat - River Boat

Pripyat - River Boat

Michael Kötter Report

miaow 1 month ago

I thought it was half a house above water :D

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#19

Pripyat - The Ghost City Crowned By Sweet Silence And Beautiful Wild Nature

Pripyat - The Ghost City Crowned By Sweet Silence And Beautiful Wild Nature

IAPonomarenko Report

Pretty Pangolin 1 month ago

Wow, the tree just grew right through it!

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#20

Duga Radar

Duga Radar

Michael Kötter Report

Alexandru Bucur 1 month ago

This one is a problem, because it's a steel lattice structure that has been exposed tot he elements without maintenance for the last 33 years and been recently the target of scrap scavengers. It's only a matter of time until some critical joint will be corroded enough to give way (especially if some other bits have been haphazardly harvested) and then it will all come down suddenly, without warning. With increased tourist activity in the Zone, including people climbing the structure, I fear it's quite possible someone might be injured or killed. So please, if you go to Chernobyl... stay away from this thing, or at least be aware it might collapse. I know what I'm talking about, I'm an architect and I nearly fell 10m to my death while visiting an abandoned prison when the walkway I was on collapsed suddenly, even though I had walked on it 5 minutes earlier and it seemed fine.

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#21

Hospital

Hospital

stechanka Report

Bonnie Blue Bird 1 month ago

Ahhhhh, the 80's .... before cribs met safety :P

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#22

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Jorge Franganillo Report

#23

Pripyat

Pripyat

okeskinnn Report

btaglln 1 month ago

Remind me of my youth on call of duty MW2. With a glitch you could go there

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See Also on Bored Panda
#24

Pripyat - Palace Of Culture "Energetik"

Pripyat - Palace Of Culture "Energetik"

Michael Kötter Report

miaow 1 month ago

Energetik vibes from this one!! The twiggy tree and tiny green leaves look like fairy lights <.<

#25

Visited Chernobyl. The Overgrown Amusement Park Of Pripyat!

Visited Chernobyl. The Overgrown Amusement Park Of Pripyat!

sistabussen Report

Magpie 1 month ago

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Too clean for 30 years

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#26

Pripyat

Pripyat

f0rtytw0 Report

#27

Residence Hall For The Plant Workers

Residence Hall For The Plant Workers

HoHoNOPE Report

Narunaru 1 month ago

"Plant" workers 8-)

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#28

Overgrown Building

Overgrown Building

Jodi Report

#29

Overgrown Rails. Nature Takes Everything Back

Overgrown Rails. Nature Takes Everything Back

anniwhere.else Report

Josey Griffin 1 month ago

Glad nature has reclaimed this place. It all looks like garden art. Now animals have some shelter.

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#30

Looking At The Chernobyl Power Plant From Pripyat

Looking At The Chernobyl Power Plant From Pripyat

TopS3cr3t Report

Alet Schoeman 1 month ago

Almost like a zombie apocalypse (without the zombies)!

Note: this post originally had 69 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.