Friday, 28 November 2014

Assessing mammal abundance in the Chernobyl exclusion zone

You might have seen the BBC News story about brown bears photographed in Chernobyl for what is believed to be the first time. CEH scientists are working on the project which aims to reduce uncertainties in assessing the risk to humans and wildlife associated with radioactive exposure.

Prof Nick Beresford told us, "Within the TREE project (TRansfer - Exposure – Effects) the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Salford University are using wildlife trap cameras to look at mammal abundance in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Our cameras have only just been deployed but our Ukrainian collaborator, Dr Sergey Gaschak, has had a few out in the Zone for two years.

"When he downloaded his latest set of photographs he found the first confirmation of brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the area."

Brown bear. Photo: Sergey Gashchak (Chornobyl Centre, Ukraine)

A selection of photographs from the camera traps are being published on the TREE project website. Other species already photographed include Eurasian lynx, European grey wolf and Eurasian elk.

One of the newly fitted camera traps in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Related links

Staff page of Prof Nick Beresford, CEH

Staff page of Dr Brenda Howard, CEH (TREE Principal Investigator)

Follow Radioecology Exchange on Twitter for updates and news from the project and related work

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