Wild boar has always been a delicacy in Japan but in the Fukushima area, the boars are killed, burned or buried as some of them register up to 300 times the normal amount of radiation. Several towns in the region were evacuated after the nuclear plant disaster and now some of the towns have been taken over by these radioactive animals. To complicate matters, large numbers of wild dogs and rats are also living in the abandoned towns.
“It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars,” said Tamotsu Baba, mayor of Namie, which was set to be re-opened 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.”
Teams of trappers have been turned loose in the towns armed with cages, bait and air rifles in an effort to cull the numbers of radioactive wild boars, but is far from an easy task.
“After people left, they (the boards) began coming down from the mountains and now they are not going back,” explained Shoichiro Sakamoto, who leads a team in the town of Tomioka. “They found a place that was comfortable. There was plenty of food and no one to come after them.”
There are also concerns about the volatility of the boars as humans attempt to reassert their dominance in the towns, as the wild hogs have been known to attack when angered or disturbed.
Nor are the boars the only problem returning residents will have to face in reclaiming their towns, as the boars have apparently shared space with packs of feral dogs and massive colonies of rats that have made homes in abandoned houses and stores.
The U.K. Sun reported that recent surveys showed only about half of the residents of the evacuated towns were expected to return once the 12-mile exclusion zone around the damaged nuclear power plant is lifted, but that hasn’t lessened the concerns about the radioactive wild animals they will face.
“I’m sure officials at all levels are giving some thought to this,” said Hidezo Sato, a former merchant in Namie. “Something must be done.”