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The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) is a ~ 4300 km2 area in Belarus and Ukraine that remains heavily contaminated with radiation from the nuclear accident of 1986. Long standing controversy persists on the fate of wildlife within the CEZ following human abandonment of the area. Human residency remains extremely sparse, and the CEZ has become a refuge for some populations of wildlife, including gray wolves (Canis lupus). Using GPS telemetry, we documented the first long-distancemovements of a young (1– 2 years) male wolf from the CEZ into the surrounding landscape. The wolf traveled 369 km from its home range center over a 21-day period in February 2015. In the 95 days prior to dispersal, the wolf maintained a home range of ~ 28 km2, with daily displacements rarely exceeding 5 km.With the onset of dispersal, daily displacement increased to amean of 16.8 km. The dispersal of a young wolf is an important observation because it suggests that the CEZmay serve as a source for some wildlife populations outside of the CEZ, and raises questions about the potential spread of radiation-induced genetic mutations to populations in uncontaminated areas.
Office national de la chasse et de la faune sauvage
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