On April 26, 1986, a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant had a massive meltdown, which led to the evacuation of over 120,000 people. The reactor exploded, spewing radioactive waste into the surrounding environment. The massive evacuation was completed in less than 30 hours and left thousands of family pets behind.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is approximately 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) and is still home to the descendants of the dogs who were left behind. Dogs of Chernobyl has made it their mission to help these poor pups.

Dogs of Chernobyl

Through this new project, teams of certified veterinarians are being sent into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to spay, neuter, vaccinate, and provide any other necessary Medical Care to these stray dogs. The project is orchestrated by the organization known as Clean Futures Fund, which is based in the United States and is a non-profit organization.

The dogs are also being given collars with radiation monitors to further study the effects of exposure to radiation. Electronic tags allow the researchers to pinpoint which dogs have already been given medical treatment. The project has been underway for nearly a month, and the team has spayed and neutered over 300 animals. Cats have also been included.

Why now?

The estimated number of stray dogs around the world is staggering and is continually on the rise. However, researchers have decided that special attention must be given to the stray dogs at Chernobyl due to a recent increase in tourism. People were not permitted to visit the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone for many years. Those who managed to get permission to study the environment could only stay for a short amount of time.

With an increased interest in seeing the nuclear site, officials are worried about the interaction between tourists and unvaccinated animals. The dogs in the area are extremely malnourished and susceptible to diseases such as rabies. It was also recently reported that the researchers have not found any dogs over the age of eight.

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Thousands of scientists are now permitted to study and conduct experiments in the Exclusion Zone. Even with high levels of radiation, the wildlife seems to still be thriving. Raccoon dogs, red foxes, wild boar, and wolves have managed to maintain their populations. However, many of the animals in the area have developed cataracts. Cataracts is a condition of cloudiness in the eye and can be caused by radiation poisoning. Scientists speculate that the stray dogs in the area have managed to survive all this time due to the occasional care given by visiting researchers. With the help of Dogs of Chernobyl, many of these stray dogs will be receiving the medical attention that they need very soon.