Understanding how animals have survived and adapted to living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) is vital to understanding our impacts on the natural world and the resulting consequences. Questions remain about the long-term impacts of radiation exposure on the wildlife surrounding the plant. A species’ size, diet, and range impact the ability to survive and thrive in an irradiated environment are the main variables examined in this essay. Animal body size may limit the buildup of radiation. Diet is dependent on the availability of prey animals, and the ingested food could have an effect on the amount of radiation an individual is exposed to. Finally, range size is likely the most important attribute for allowing a species’ continued survival in a contaminated habitat. Interestingly, it appears that human species has more of a negative impact on the abundance of species than the radiation exposure itself.
Claire Allen is Environmental Studies and Religious Studies double major, who is working towards a career in the non-profit sector. As an Air Force brat who had the opportunity to travel the US as a child, Claire gained an appreciation for the diverse wildernesses the world has to offer, and wants to join the fight to protect the earth's natural beauty!