Forget Godzilla. Japan has a much smaller problem that is turning into a monstrous disaster. Wild boars. And we’re not talking about your average misbehaved feral swine, these piggies have been exposed to nuclear radiation and are both viscous and toxic. The Fukushima region, sight of a nuclear power plant disaster, is now overrun with radioactive hogs.
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The exact numbers are hard to estimate, but the numbers range into the thousands. Fukushima is a mountainous region of Japan. When towns were evacuated after the earth quake in 2011 destroyed part of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the hogs came down from the mountain in search of food.
And they found it. Whole towns, in the evacuation, were left intact. The people walked away. This left food for the hogs, and places for them to stay. The abandoned houses in the towns made perfect shelter from the harsh Japanese winters.
As residents plan their return, the pigs are proving problematic. They’ve been eating plants and animals exposed to radiation. And they’ve grown accustomed to their new life in the cities, so much so that they’ve begun attacking returning residents.
“We need a strong hunting plan,” Hidekiyo Tachiya, the mayor of Soma told The New York Times. “I wish for the day to come when we can eat wild game again.”
Part of this plan involves hunters who are stalking the hogs with air rifles. Their efforts are aided by coordinated trapping. The hunters have eradicated 800 hogs to date. After killing them, though, they have to be disposed of porperly to prevent further contamination.
Boars in this area have long been a delicacy, yet these aren’t safe to eat.
The Fukushima earthquake and the resulting disaster at the nuclear plant forced more than 150,000 people to leave the area.Some have been able to resettle. Others are actively attempting to do so, yet radiation levels are still above levels considered safe in much of the region.
In addition to the hogs, and greatly increased risks of cancer, the local population is also having to deal with roving packs of feral dogs and large colonies or radioactive rats.