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Thirty years after a botched test at Chernobyl's nuclear plant, animal populations are thriving in the 30 km exclusion zone. Authorities are considering turning it into a biosphere preserve. Over 100,000 people were permanently evacuated.

A wolf wanders into the abandoned village of Orevichi, Belarus.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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A woodpecker looks out of a hollow in a tree.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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Tumbledown villages marked with radiation warning signs have become hunting grounds for wolves and hawks.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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A fox walks through a field.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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A white-tailed eagle lands on a wolf's carcass.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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Hunters drag wolves killed in a field outside of the exclusion zone near the village of Khrapkov, Belarus.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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Elks are seen in the woods in the exclusion zone.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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Bisons are seen at a bison nursery near the abandoned village of Dronki, Belarus.

Vasily Fedosenko/REUTERS

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Wolf numbers are seven times higher in the Belarussian part of the zone compared with uncontaminated areas elsewhere.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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Authorities may turn the uninhabitable zone into a biosphere to protect native animal populations.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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Birds, including tawny owls and magpies, nest in the roofs and chimneys of abandoned buildings.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

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