We were visiting the Polissya nature reserve, a giant area of marshes and forests, some 250 kilometers northwest of Kyiv on the border with Belarus. The road we took led to the village the residents of which more than two decades ago were evacuated as being too close to the areas affected by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear accident.
The dirt road looked like it has been used by no more than a few people a month since that time.
It was the first time that we saw the animals, numbers of which are dwindling in Ukraine, at such close range. For what seemed like a couple of minutes, the humans and the beasts looked at each other, and only when we reached for the camera did the moose unhurriedly turn away and disappear in the woods. It was somehow a pleasure for a human not to been seen as scary from the animals’ perspective.