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Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad: Animals Return to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone



In the last ten years, studies and articles have attested to the good health of animals observed in the Red Forest of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. This seemed to offer some redemption of radiological disaster and ease our fears about the consequences of past technological choices and management. When the animals in the Red Forest were Russian soldiers invading Ukraine, however, the stories shifted to tell of how they immediately endured sickness and even death. This article examines how we project our own fears and hopes onto this liminal space, in spite of current research about the harms of radiation exposures. Such projections often reveal as much about ourselves as about the biological realities there.