Lynx in the exclusion zone

Inhabitants of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Among the wildlife of the Chernobyl zone, one can distinguish quite a lot of specimen. In this article, we will talk about a feline representative – Lynx\ Eurasian Lynx. A large enough cat that has adapted to life in cold climates. In some Scandinavian countries, this animal is not rarely found even beyond the Arctic Circle.

A representative of the cat family, as a rule, lives in the boreal forests of Eurasia. Many years ago, for the Polessky Territory, this beast was quite common. Due to the fact that during the collectivization of this region, quite large deforestation began, which in turn led to a depletion of the food supply, lynx became a rather rare creature. Also, the extinction of the species includes hunting and poaching for this beautiful cat. If in the XIX century lynx was considered a rare animal, then at the beginning of the XX century, it finally disappeared.

On April 26, 2016, the President of Ukraine signed a decree "On the establishment of the Chernobyl radiation-ecological biosphere reserve." In the structure of the reserve itself, there are units on which the responsibility lies in the study, protection and restoration of the natural environment.

In fact, the question of studying the wildlife of the Chernobyl zone became acute almost immediately after the Chernobyl accident. It would seem that it would sound paradoxical that a large-scale technological disaster had a positive impact on the entire living world of Chernobyl, but it is so. Depressive changes in the form of mutations and animal deaths were recorded only in the first few months. Basically, these were the territories that suffered the greatest radioactive contamination. But already in the first years after the accident, to the surprise of all scientists, the Polesie fauna quickly began to improve.

Studies that were carried out in 10 years after the Chernobyl disaster made it clear that there is an increase in the number of species of predatory fauna, an increase in the number of rare species and the appearance of new species that previously disappeared from these places.

About the return of wild cats to the Chernobyl forests began to be actively discussed not so long ago. Thanks to photo and video monitoring using photo traps, we can safely say that the rarest species for these places has returned to its former habitat. The first appearance of lynx was recorded in 1991 on the territory of the Polessky State Radiation-Ecological Reserve in the Republic of Belarus. On the territory of the Ukrainian sector of the exclusion zone, lynx was first recorded in 2000. Already then, in an area of ​​500 km², about 10 individuals were found.

Thanks to the photo traps that have been actively used since 2012, it can be safely stated that the cat family predator lives almost throughout the exclusion zone. The accumulation of animal groups was often observed in the areas of the villages of Chistogalovka, Denisovichi, Vilcha, Stary Shepelichi, Paryshev, Ladyzhichi, Teremtsy.

The Chernobyl zone is an excellent habitat for lynx. In severe winters, lynx can calmly make long transitions, since it is itself a hardy beast. A thick fur coat protects the cat from low temperatures, and its wide and long legs make it possible to overcome even the largest snowdrifts. Lynx is considered a rather dangerous predator because it has unique vision, hearing and smell. In autumn and winter, roe deer and hares are the main food for lynx. In the rest of the year, it feeds on rodents, birds, but sometimes it can prey on larger individuals such as wild boars and moose. This predator knows a lot about camouflage and has a large reserve of patience. A lynx can watch its victim for hours or even days in a comfortable position with good visibility. As a rule, lynx hunt at dusk, which gives it an advantage in terms of disguise. Due to the fact that this cat is not so big unlike its larger relatives, nature did not deprive it with claws and teeth as sharp as a blade. Like any other cat, it is typical for it to attack the victim almost instantly and accurately, which gives it a huge advantage even over a large opponent.

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