While the dogs get some food and play from the visitors, their health needs are met by Clean Futures Fund, a US non-profit organisation that helps communities affected by industrial accidents, which has set up three veterinary clinics in the area, including one inside the Chernobyl plant. The clinics treat emergencies and issue vaccinations against rabies, parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis. They are also neutering the dogs. Lucas Hixson, the funds co-founder, says: I dont think well ever get zero dogs in the exclusion zone but we want to get the population down to a manageable size so we can feed and provide long-term care for them. This makes Chernobyl safer for the dogs, but also for the workers and visitors.
The Chernobyl plant has recently been sealed under a new sarcophagus designed and built by a multinational group of experts, and similar cooperation can be seen with the dogs. In the woods behind Chernobyl I look again at yellow-eyed Tarzan and see, not a wild animal, but a playful example of global kindness and cooperation.