In April of 1986, an accident at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine (in what was then the U.S.S.R.), destroyed a reactor and released massive amounts of radioactive material into the surrounding area. The radiation was powerful enough to contaminate parts of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, and a zone 30 kilometers (18 miles) around the plant was closed off to the public. It's been that way ever since: except for a few scientists and other officials, Chernobyl has seen virtually no human visitors.
But this tragedy has a bright side: the absence of human interference has led to a dramatic increase in wildlife. As reported by National Geographic, biologists performing a five-week survey of the area captured images of "a bison, 21 boars, nine badgers, 26 gray wolves, 60 raccoon dogs (an Asian species also called a tanuki), and 10 red foxes." Scientists studying the populations of wolves and other species have noticed similar trends. How well the animals are doing with the radiation levels is up for debate—though they appear healthy, more research is needed to determine if they're experiencing health effects at the genetic level. Delve into the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster in the videos below.