Rare wild horses have found their home in an abandoned exclusion zone established after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986.
Przewalski's horses, native to Mongolia, were seen in buildings in Belarus abandoned after the accident with a nuclear power plant that killed 42 people at the time and led to the death of nearly 100 in the following years.
Motion-controlled cameras set up by scientists have taken over 11,000 photos over the course of a year from stocky endangered species hiding in empty barns and homes in the Chernobyl exclusion zone (CEZ).
A total of 15 Przewalski horses were brought to the border of Belarus and Ukraine 15 years ago to increase biodiversity in the fall-out area.
Researchers from the University of Georgia discovered that rare Przewalski horses use abandoned structures near the border between Ukraine and Belarus to find hours of coverage
More than 11,000 photos of rare Przewalski's horses were taken with the horses that use sheds as shelters in the Exclusion Zone (CEZ) in Belarus
Within four years, the population almost doubled – and now scientists have discovered that the horses benefit from the abandoned buildings in the CEZ, which extends over Ukraine and Belarus.
People have not returned to the 1,600 square mile zone between Ukraine and Belarus, but researchers have found evidence that animals thrive in the canals and rivers of the infected zone.
The horses were admitted 35 times on nine of the ten controlled structures in the winter, and 149 times on all eight controlled structures in the summer by experts from the University of Georgia in the US.
Researchers discovered that the horses from the steppes of Central Asia use the structures to breed, provide shelter and sleep, and also hide from insects during the summer months.
The CEZ is an area of 1600 square miles that was abandoned in 1986 after an explosion at a power plant.
It is located between Ukraine and Belarus and was part of the Soviet Union at the time of the collapse.
A research team from the American University of Georgia has set up cameras to capture the horses that sleep, sleep and breed in winter and summer
Under the leadership of Peter Schlichting, the research team also discovered brown hares, red deer, elk, wild boar, red foxes, raccoon dogs, Eurasian lynx and wolves, and bats.
He said: & # 39; Video images can be a useful tool to track people during visits and can be used in combination with cameras & # 39; s to fill those gaps. & # 39;
James Beasley, a senior author of the research team report, said it was vital to find out how often the horses use the structures.
He added: & # 39; Our results indicate that Przewalski & # 39; s horses routinely use abandoned structures in the CEZ.
& # 39; As a result, these structures can serve as important research and management focal points to obtain important demographic information such as age, gender, population size, and genetic structure. & # 39;
The horses of Przewalski, named after the Russian geographer Nikolaj Przewalski who found them in Mongolia, are perhaps the last remaining subspecies of real wild horse.
Schlichting said the numbers are probably too low to sustain a population, and added: & # 39; If the population size becomes smaller, much natural variation is lost. & # 39;
Researchers suspect that the endangered horses from the steppes of Central Asia are using the buildings that were abandoned after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 as a refuge for insects in the summer
The CEZ is an area of 1600 square miles that was abandoned in 1986 following an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The area lies between Ukraine and Belarus and used to be part of the Soviet Union. People have not returned to the zone or the nearby town of Pripyat
The research team at the University of Georgia now hopes to conduct future research in the Ukraine part of the zone, where the population was initially introduced.
Future studies may collect information about population numbers.
The research team hopes the research will help them learn more about the behavior patterns of Przewalski's horses so that they can save them.
Tourists can now visit Unit 4 control room at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine after a 36,000-tonne structure, called a New Safe Confinement (NSC) shield, worth £ 1.3 billion was set up to eliminate radioactive substances to close.
Reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded and burned on April 26, 1986, leading to thousands of premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of people resettled and hundreds of billions of pounds of damage.
The blast rained radiation over the local area, including nearby regions of Belarus and other parts of Europe.
The total number of deaths from the long-term effects of radiation poisoning is around 4,000, including those killed by the direct explosion.
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