Feature Story

How Chernobyl has become an unexpected haven for wildlife

October 9, 2020

Nature in Chernobyl, Ukraine
Photo: Kate Siomkina/Shutterstock

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, set up after the 1986 nuclear reactor disaster in Ukraine, is the third-largest nature reserve in mainland Europe and has become an iconic experiment in rewilding. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is working with Ukraine’s Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources to support that renaissance. A six-year project funded by the GEF has helped establish a national biosphere reserve around Chernobyl.