Amidst the nuclear fascination and testing of the Cold War, a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, experienced a series of detonations in 1986, spreading radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and causing severe ecological damage. It came to be known as the Chernobyl disaster and devastated the surrounding regions. People and animals were exposed to this radiation, which sometimes caused mutations that made animals look almost otherworldly.
Despite people evacuating the affected zones, animals stayed behind. And while these animals are highly radioactive, most of them saw their populations thrive. The animals that live in Chernobyl are the only occupants of the once-thriving city and range from birds and eagles to wolves and bison. The radioactive Chernobyl animals do pose some threat to humans, however, and scientists are beginning to study them to truly understand how animals can adapt to living in a nuclear zone.