Radioactive Boars Rule Abandoned Japanese Towns In Wake Of Fukushima Disaster
The first photos of the wild boars that have come to dominate the abandoned streets of towns near the site of the 2011 Fukushima disaster have emerged as government-led teams begin to cull the boar population to make way for the expected return of the towns' former residents.
Six years after the Fukushima Daichi nuclear disaster - a major nuclear meltdown brought on by an quake and tsunami hitting Fukushima, Japan - some residents who fled the area are getting the go-ahead to finally return home.
Hundreds of radioactive wild boars moved into towns deserted after the nuclear crisis.
Five towns in Fukushima have partially reopened since the disaster so far. Before the 2011 disaster, boar meat was actually a delicacy in northern Japan, before they became too toxic to eat.
"It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars", Mayor Tamotsu Baba said. They occasionally attack humans.
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.
Since April a year ago, over 300 boars have been killed.
The town of Namie, located 4km (2.5 miles) from the Fukushima power plant, is scheduled to see residents return at the end of March.
Despite concerns over radiation that leaked from the nuclear power plant following the quake and tsunami, and amid questions about the plant's safety (it is being decommissioned), a government survey found that more than half of the 21,500 former residents of Namie plan to return, according to Reuters.
The boars, which have radioactive levels 300 times higher than what's considered safe, have been known to attack humans on occasion. One hunter says, "They found a place that's comfortable, there's plenty of food and no one will come after them".
With the return of residents, the boars have to be cleared, which has prompted officials to set up booby traps.
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