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Radioactive wild boars waiting for homecomers in Fukushima

Staff Writer |
Beyond radiation risks, an unexpected nuisance looms for Japanese returning to towns vacated after the Fukushima nuclear crisis six years ago - wild boars.

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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, The Asahi Shimbun reports.

"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.

At the end of March, Japan is set to lift evacuation orders for parts of Namie, located just 4 km from the wrecked nuclear plant, as well as three other towns.

Residents fled to escape radiation spewed by the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, whose reactors went into meltdown after it was struck by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

In the nearby town of Tomioka, hunter Shoichiro Sakamoto leads a team of 13 assigned to catch and kill the wild boars with air rifles. Twice a week, they set about 30 cage traps, using rice flour as bait.

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