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The stray dogs of Chernobyl

A stray dog stands at a monument outside the new, giant enclosure that covers devastated reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on Aug. 18, 2017, near Chernobyl, Ukraine. (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The stray dogs of Chernobyl

An estimated 900 stray dogs live in the Chernobyl 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.

Volunteers, including veterinarians and radiation experts from around the world, are participating in an initiative called the Dogs of Chernobyl, launched by the nonprofit Clean Futures Fund.

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.

Some dogs are also being outfitted with special collars equipped with radiation sensors and GPS receivers in order to map radiation levels across the zone. (Getty Images)

Photography by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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