Radioactive boars overrun town near Fukushima plant
March 09, 2017
(NAMIE, FUKUSHIMA) Beyond radiation risks, an unexpected nuisance looms for Japanese returning to towns vacated after the Fukushima nuclear crisis six years ago – wild boars.
Hundreds of the animals, which have been known to attack people when enraged, descended from surrounding hills and forests into towns left deserted after the 2011 disaster.
Now they roam the empty streets and overgrown backyards of Japan’s deserted seaside town of Namie, foraging for food.
“It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars,” said Tamotsu Baba, mayor of the town, which has been partially cleared for people to return home freely at the end of the month.
“If we don’t get rid of them and turn this into a human-led town, the situation will get even wilder and uninhabitable.”
At the end of March, Japan is set to lift evacuation orders for parts of Namie, located just 4 km (2.5 miles) from the wrecked nuclear plant, as well as three other towns.
The Czech Republic has a similar problem with its wild boar population, as they have become radioactive from eating mushrooms contaminated with Cesium 137 fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Pripyat, Ukrainian.
More than half of Namie’s former 21,500 residents have decided not to return, however, a government survey showed last year, citing concerns over radiation and the safety of the nuclear plant, which is being decommissioned.
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