European Rewilding Network

Rewilding Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

After a nuclear disaster that happened 30 years ago, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone became one of the wildest places in Europe. The area is occupied by diverse -including rare and endangered- species, making the place unique. The vision we as Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine have is that key mega-fauna species are present in stable populations, including wild grazers like horses and bison.

Project: Rewilding Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Region: Northern Ukraine, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) is located c. 100 km N of Kiev, 123 m above sea level.
Type of protection: Restricted access for humans due to safety reasons
Habitat types: mixed, coniferous and broadleaved forests, meadows, mires, small rivers, post human habitats
Keystone species: moose, gray wolf, lynx, brown bear, wild horse (Przewalski's horse)
Fauna (mega) species present: roe deer, red deer
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Re-introductions / re-stockings of locally extinct or rare key wildlife species, or breeding of such species with the goal to release them into the wild
Aim and vision: Natural forest self-development, natural grazing and predation. Natural restoration of ecosystems with the maximum presence of key mega-fauna species after human disturbance.
All key mega-fauna species are present in stable populations, strong and viable population of the wild horse (over 300 ind.), strong European bison population (over 300 ind.) and other herbivores: roe deer, red deer, moose, wild boar.
Uniqueness of the project: Area of 207000 ha in Europe with minor interference of humans. Both species, free living wild horses and E. bison together on such vast area.
Other activities: Research
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Reintroduction of European bison, creation of at least 2 free living herds.
Results so far: Rewilding with wild horses in the approx. numbers 100-120 ind. in a stable self-developing population of a natural aged and social structure.
Inspirational value: Presence of all mega-fauna species, herbivores and predators, in a natural ecosystem dynamic.
Experience you would like to share: Experiences on rewilding horses
Experience you would like to gain: Reintroduction and management of E. bison
Map
Country
Ukraine
Start year
1998
Size (ha)
207000
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic
Natural process
Natural grazing
Flagship species
Feral horses

After a nuclear disaster that happened 30 years ago, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone became one of the wildest places in Europe. The area is occupied by diverse -including rare and endangered- species, making the place unique. The vision we as Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine have is that key mega-fauna species are present in stable populations, including wild grazers like horses and bison.

Map
Country
Ukraine
Start year
1998
Size (ha)
207000
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic
Natural process
Natural grazing
Flagship species
Feral horses
Specification
Project: Rewilding Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Region: Northern Ukraine, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) is located c. 100 km N of Kiev, 123 m above sea level.
Type of protection: Restricted access for humans due to safety reasons
Habitat types: mixed, coniferous and broadleaved forests, meadows, mires, small rivers, post human habitats
Keystone species: moose, gray wolf, lynx, brown bear, wild horse (Przewalski's horse)
Fauna (mega) species present: roe deer, red deer
Description
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Re-introductions / re-stockings of locally extinct or rare key wildlife species, or breeding of such species with the goal to release them into the wild
Aim and vision: Natural forest self-development, natural grazing and predation. Natural restoration of ecosystems with the maximum presence of key mega-fauna species after human disturbance.
All key mega-fauna species are present in stable populations, strong and viable population of the wild horse (over 300 ind.), strong European bison population (over 300 ind.) and other herbivores: roe deer, red deer, moose, wild boar.
Uniqueness of the project: Area of 207000 ha in Europe with minor interference of humans. Both species, free living wild horses and E. bison together on such vast area.
Other activities: Research
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Reintroduction of European bison, creation of at least 2 free living herds.
Results so far: Rewilding with wild horses in the approx. numbers 100-120 ind. in a stable self-developing population of a natural aged and social structure.
Exchange
Inspirational value: Presence of all mega-fauna species, herbivores and predators, in a natural ecosystem dynamic.
Experience you would like to share: Experiences on rewilding horses
Experience you would like to gain: Reintroduction and management of E. bison
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