Just over 30 years ago, when a massive explosion occurred in the reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in what is now norther Ukraine, a large patch of land surrounding the plant had to be evacuated due to radioactive contamination. Unfortunately, in the chaos following the disaster, no one took the time to let the local wildlife know what was up. Now, herds of wild animals roam the human-free exclusion zone, including a gaggle of unbelievably adorable radioactive puppies that don’t even have three eyes or anything.
As part of his YouTube travel series Cloth Map, filmmaker Drew Scanlon recently released a video on the “The Puppies Of Chernobyl,” which features a lot of footage of the scruffy little toxic tykes bumbling around the edges of the Ukrainian village. In a true test of human willpower, experts advise that you not pet the puppies because they can carry radioactive particles on their fur. This is made all the more difficult by the fact that these dogs aren’t afraid of humans and will walk right up to you, plop on the ground, and demand a belly rub.
This heartbreaking clip is a companion piece to Scanlon’s longer video, “Chernobyl: Two Days In The Exclusion Zone,” which takes a more in-depth look at the devastation in the area, how it has affected the local population, and what the abandoned wasteland looks like today. If you’re interested in specifically helping the nearly 1,000 dogs in this radioactive environment, there’s currently a GoFundMe campaign to aid in the clean-up process.