Barnett, C.L.; Gashchak, S.; Beresford, N.A.; Wood, M.D.

Wildlife camera trap photographs from the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine (November 2020 - March 2021) following extensive wildfires

The data presented here comprise a catalogue of 11633 trap camera images obtained during the period November 2020 to March 2021; this period is described within the dataset as setup 2. Following the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in April 1986 an approximately 5000 km2 exclusion zone surrounding the plant was created; people and farm animals were subsequently evacuated from the area. In April 2020 there were severe wildfires within the Ukrainian part of the exclusion zone (2600 km2) where approximately 870 km2 was burnt. The NERC funded CHAR project conducted a study which involved placing motion activated digital trap cameras at three sites (each covering an area of 80 km2) within the Ukrainian exclusion zone from June 2020 - August 2021 to assess large mammal activity following the fire. Thirteen cameras were randomly located at each site; all camera deployment locations had been used in a previous study 2014-2015 (

All the images obtained during November 2020-March 2021 (setup 2) are included as part of the dataset with the exception of those containing people, vehicles or members of the CHAR research team setting up and servicing the cameras; these images (n= 692) have been catalogued but the images are not included in the dataset to protect privacy. Information on camera deployment periods, site characteristics and descriptions of each camera location (e.g. geographic coordinates, estimates of ambient dose rate, description of animal trails or tracks and the extent of fire damage in vicinity of where the camera is mounted) have also been included as part of the dataset.

Staff from the Chornobyl Center for Nuclear Safety deployed, maintained and downloaded images and associated metadata from the trap cameras in March 2021. Using the images and associated metadata, the image catalogue was populated by Chornobyl Center staff with: species identified in image, number of animals visible in image, the number of triggering events (cumulative by camera) and any relevant notes; the image catalogue (MSExcel) and trap camera images (.jpeg) were subsequently supplied to UKCEH. Site descriptions and camera information were provided by Chornobyl Center staff and supplied to UKCEH by staff as MSExcel files; the same person from the Chornobyl Center recorded all descriptive parameters. The information provided includes: site field notes, habitat descriptions, camera location (latitude and longitude, WGS84), estimates of ambient dose rate (µSv h-1), camera deployment dates and the number of days each camera was deployed. The data and images were quality checked by a member of UKCEH staff and any queries were investigated and amended where necessary.

This dataset contains data related to setup 2; for data related to setup 1 see:
Publication date: 2022-11-11