DailyMail
By Sarah Malm for MailOnline
Published: August 22, 2017 10:39 EDT
Updated: August 22, 2017 20:27 EDT

 

The 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl turned the area into a wasteland and the Ukrainian city into a ghost town where no one has lived for more than 30 years - no human anyway.

When 120,000 people were told evacuate after the explosion at Chernobyl's nuclear power plant sent a radioactive cloud over Europe - and many were forced to abandon their beloved dogs.

Now, their descendants roam the exclusion zone: some 900 stray dogs are living in and around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, pushed out of the nearby forest by wolves, and drawn to the contents of its bins and scraps thrown by the workers.

Adorable: Stray puppies play in an abandoned, partially-completed cooling tower inside the exclusion zone at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where they live with hundreds of other dogs 

 

 

 

 

 

Survivors: Workers on a break pet a stray dog they have named Bulka outside an administrative building inside the exclusion zone at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant 

 

 

Scraps: A stray goes through a bin at the plant where some 3,500 people are now working, some 30 years after the explosion
Science: Jake Hecla, a graduate student in nuclear engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and a volunteer with The Dogs of Chernobyl initiative, uses a spectroscopy device to measure gamma rays emitted from isotopes, including americium, which is derived from plutonium, and cesium lodged inside the body of an anesthetized stray dog recovering from surgery at a makeshift veterinary clinic inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone
Pet for purpose: Volunteers, including veterinarians and radiation experts from around the world, are participating in an initiative called The Dogs of Chernobyl, launched by the non-profit Clean Futures FundPet for purpose: Volunteers, including veterinarians and radiation experts from around the world, are participating in an initiative called The Dogs of Chernobyl, launched by the non-profit Clean Futures Fund

 

While no one has lived within the 18.5mile exclusion zone for 31 years, some 3,500 people commute to work at the nuclear plant every day.

These workers have taken pity on the dogs and feed them, often allowing them inside the plant during the harsh Ukrainian winter, according to U.S. charity Clean Futures Fund (CFF).

CFF is a Michigan-based non-profit organisation that pursues humanitarian projects at Chernobyl, and is providing medical treatment to the strays in the exclusion zone. 

 

An estimated 900 stray dogs live in the exclusion zone, many of them likely the descendants of dogs left behind following the mass evacuation of residents in the aftermath of the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl

 

 

New pets: Sergey Shamray, a worker at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, tosses pieces of bread to stray dogs outside the workers cafeteria inside the exclusion zone at the Chernobyl plant

 

 

Back out again: Dog catcher Aleksander Klimov releases a stray dog back into the wild inside the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after veterinarians with The Dogs of Chernobyl initiative had tagged, spayed and vaccinated it

 

 

Participants capture the dogs, study their radiation exposure, vaccinate them against parasites and diseases including rabies, tag the dogs and release them again into the exclusion zone so scientists can track them

 

 

Nastya Grabchuk, left, a Ukrainian medical student volunteering with The Dogs of Chernobyl initiative, and Meredith Ayan, Executive Director of SPCA International, a U.S.-based animal rescue non-profit, tend to stray puppies recovering from a sedative after surgery and vaccinations at a makeshift veterinary clinic inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone 

 

 

High levels: A 'frisker' Geiger counter used to measure radiation shows a reading of 1240 counts, approximately 20 times higher than normal, on the paws of an anesthetized stray female dog inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone

 

 

They're everywhere: Workers walk past a tagged, stray dog inside the high-security

 

 

Buddy at work: Workers on a break watch a stray dog saunter by outside an administrative building inside the exclusion zone at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant 

 

As hundreds of dogs still live in areas with radioactive contamination, scientists and radiation experts from around the world have taken an interest in the strays for research purposes.

After the dogs are captured, they are spayed and vaccinated, before some are being fitted with special collars equipped with radiation sensors and GPS receivers in order to map radiation levels across the zone.

This helps scientists study their radiation exposure and gives them access to areas of Chernobyl where humans would not normally have access due to possible health risks. 

 

Abandoned: In this aerial view abandoned, partially-completed cooling towers stand at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant as the new, giant enclosure that covers devastated reactor number four stands behind in the distance

 

 

Adopted friends: Anna Vlasinko greets two stray dogs she has named Alfa and Zuzka at the security post where she works opposite the new enclosure built over the remains of devastated reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

 

 

 

 

 

Radiation revelations: Helped by the CFF, scientists capture the dogs and fit them with special collars equipped with radiation sensors and GPS receivers in order to map radiation levels across the zone

 

 

Passion project: Marie-Louise Chenery, who is from San Diego, California, and is a volunteer with The Dogs of Chernobyl initiative, tends to stray puppies near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

 

 

Dog whisperer: Pavel 'Pasho' Burkatsky, a professional dog catcher from Kiev, takes aim with a blow gun to shoot a tranquilizer dart at a stray dog in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

 

 

Feed me: Stray dogs seek a handout of food outside the workers cafeteria at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4812828/The-strays-Chernobyl-descendants-pets-1986.html#ixzz4s0msSYOp 


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