Hunters are piling up radioactive wild boars faster than the bodies can be disposed of.
It may sound like the plot to a cheaply-made horror movie. But this is the real deal. Fukushima Japan and the surrounding areas have a radioactive wild boar problem!
The story actually begins back in 2011 when there was a leak of radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in a disaster on par with Chernobyl. And much like Chernobyl, much of the surrounding area is now uninhabited.
But while the area wasn’t any good for human habitation, it allowed boars to run around freely without interference from humans, consuming food that has been contaminated by nuclear materials.
But as usual, the animals have shown just how hardy they are to not only survive, but thrive under the conditions. And their numbers have absolutely skyrocketed. In 2014 there were 3,000 boars hunted. That number is now 13,000.
The boars are now becoming so numerous they are starting to spread outside of the quarantine zone where they are now terrorizing the closest farms and causing massive damage to crops and properties.
Perhaps the strangest part of the story is the fact these radioactive boars have shown no signs of adverse effects from the radiation. Authorities are now working to exterminate as many of the animals as they can.
In an additional bit of unfortunate news, even though the animals themselves suffer no ill effects of their radiation, the levels within the boars are 300 times over the safe limit for human consumption.
That means authorities have another huge problem on their hands. And that’s to find ways to dispose of hundreds of radioactive animal carcasses. Three mass graves were constructed near the city of Nihonmatsu to dispose of boar carcasses.
But even though each one can fit up to 600 of the up to 220-pound boars, these huge graves are almost full and with no other public land to put mass graves in, authorities are running out of options.
“Sooner or later, we’re going to have to ask local people to give us their land to use,” local hunter Tsuneo Saito said.
In response to boar carcasses piling up faster than they can be disposed of, the city of Soma built an incinerator to dispose of bodies. They even fitted it with special filters to remove radioactive elements. Unfortunately, the incinerator is too slow to be effective, only able to dispose of three animals a day.
In the wake of the disaster, direct effects on humans were minimal. But with radiation levels expected to remain toxic in Fukushima for the next 30 years, it seems Japan’s war with radioactive wild boars may have only just begun.