The wild horses of Chernobyl

The areas adjacent to Chernobyl , where man has been absent for more than thirty years, are increasingly becoming a small concentrate of biodiversity . Over the past few years, within the Alienation Zone – the space where human presence is prohibited due to radiation contamination – various animal species have returned to life, some of which had not inhabited this region for decades. And here the areas near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant have become the favorite place for a herd of rare wild horses : Przewalski’s horses. The equines, completely peaceful and self-sufficient, would have taken advantage of some structures abandoned by man – in particular barns – where they could form herds of completely sedentary specimens.

These specimens – named in honor of the Polish explorer Nikołaj Przewalski – are also known as Mongolian horses . Compared to the classic equines, these horses are characterized by a more stocky body and a shorter height, as well as a brown coat furrowed by a white stripe on the belly. Since the genetic heritage remains very similar to that of ordinary horses, hybridizations are possible. The first local sightings of this almost exclusively wild species occurred 15 years ago, when approximately 36 specimens were identified along the border between Ukraine and Belarus. In 2008 this population had doubled and today it appears stable in the number of representatives, however it would be a matter of flocks that are still too small to speak of a true rebirth. In fact, further conservation efforts are necessary, so that the population can be genetically differentiated, thus avoiding inbreeding phenomena that could increase various problems due to the scarce genetic mixing . Click here now to discover all our travels, tours, itineraries and horseback riding holidays in Russia.

From the monitoring by cameras, installed in strategic points of the Belarusian portion of the alienation zone, it emerged how these horses exploit the abandoned barns both in summer and in winter: during the hot season to shelter from the heat and insects, while during the cold one to reduce exposure to the typical freezing temperatures of these areas.

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