The Zone is an area of 1,104 square miles centered on the nuclear power plant site which has been evacuated of all its population. A circle of 30 km in radius was established around the power plant which is located between the city of Chernobyl to the south and Prypiat which is north of it. A total of about 135,000 people, including 45,000 from the city of Prypiat, and from dozens of smaller towns and villages were evacuated from this area soon after the accident. This area is quarded by police and military men. In some villages within the zone, the people are still living (mainly the older ones); they refused to leave the area or they returned after the evacuation.
Prypiat and the surrounding area won't be safe for human habitation for several centuries to come. However wild animal population are actually quite large in the zone. Many species of animals and birs, which were not seen in the area prior to the disaster, are now plentiful. Among the reappeared animals is lynx, eagle owl, great white egret, possibly a bear. The european bison and Przewalski horse were introduced into the zone. The population of badger, beaver, boar, deer, elk, fox, hare, wolf and birds such as aquatic warbler, azure tit, black stork, crane and white-tailed eagle is booming.
The Zone is considered relatively safe to visit, and several Ukrainian companies offer guided tours of the area. The radiations levels have decreased from the high levels of April 1986 due to the decay of the shortlived isotopes released in the accident.