Radioactive Fukushima boars culled to clear way for returning residents

Posted March 11, 2017

After people deserted the towns, wild boars emerged from local forests to scavenge for food and, according to local media, have flourished.

The animals are running amok in abandoned towns in Japan's Fukushima prefecture, evacuated following the tsunami-triggered disaster at a nuclear plant there in 2011.

One problem: the area has since been overtaken by hundreds of radioactive wild boars!

Five towns in Fukushima have partially reopened since the disaster so far.

Wild boar meat is a delicacy in northern Japan, but animals slaughtered since the disaster are too contaminated to eat.

The boars, which have radioactive levels 300 times higher than what's considered safe, have been known to attack humans on occasion.

Speaking to the Mirror, Tamotsu Baba, mayor of the town said, "It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars".

According to the Mirror, Japan is set to lift cordons for parts of Namie, which is located 4km from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant, as well as three other towns.

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Now - with the town overrun with radioactive swine - about half of Namie's 21,500 residents have chose to return home, according to a survey.

Anxious that these contaminated boars may attack returning residents, city officials have begun clearing them out by using hunters, The New York Times reports.

In the nearby town of Tomioka, hunters set up 30 cages twice a week to capture boars, using rice flour as bait and killing them with air rifles.

Since 2014, the number of boars killed has grown from 3,000 to 13,000.

"After people left, they began coming down from the mountains and now they are not going back", Sakamoto told Reuters.

Still, most former residents have expressed that they will not return to their homes due to fear of radiation.

Shoichiro Sakamoto, a local hunter who leads the wild boar team, told Reuters that the animals aren't afraid of people now.