Approximately 5% of the territory of the Chornobyl Reserve was damaged during the fires in the exclusion zone
Today, the main forces of the scientific units of the Chornobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve are aimed at assessing the consequences of the fires.
«According to preliminary estimates, 11.5 thousand hectares of the south-western part of the Reserve were affected, which is about 5% of the Reserve's territory. Approximately 35% of them are forests, 55% are fallow lands, and 10% are wetlands», - said Oleksandr Halushchenko, director of the Chornobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve.
According to a scientist Denis Vyshnevsky, large and medium-sized animals and birds escaped the fire, but small members of the fauna suffered the most: murine rodents, amphibians, reptiles, insects. As for the flora, as a result of intensive burning, certain plant communities were lost and damaged.
Near one of the fires, foresters found a two-week-old foal of Przewalski's horses, which probably strayed from the flock. He was promptly taken to one of the shelters near Kyiv, where veterinarians are providing the necessary assistance. Squirrels from the squirrel family, who are currently being fed, were also rescued.
Given that 95% of the territory of the Chornobyl Reserve was not damaged by fire, ungulates and herbivores found food here.
However, in some areas due to the fire there is a limited, and in some places is missing a food supply for animals. Therefore, the Reserve's staff and animal protection volunteers undertook temporary feeding of animals in the area around the fires to compensate for the loss of their forage lands.
Employees of the Reserve recorded that Przewalski's herd of horses migrated to the Chornobyl NPP industrial zone.
According to environmentalists, open landscapes are recovering quickly and possibly in a month the fires sites will be grassed over, where in time most of the animals that left these areas during the fires will return.
The Reserve plans to use part of the fire damaged areas as scientific landfills to study the processes of ecosystem restoration and the peculiarities of the distribution and deposition of radionuclides after fires.