It’s been almost six years to the day since a horrific and devastating earthquake and tsunami ravaged a large swath of Japan — a major disaster which caused critical damage to the nuclear plant in Fukushima. Threat of a meltdown held the entire nation (and many of their close neighbors) in a state of constant wariness until safety officials could declare the radiation leakage safely contained.
But most of the smaller towns and villages surrounding the plant remain off-limits from residents or commercial development until the readings return to safe levels… and while many of these areas are on the verge of being declared safe at last, authorities have discovered an entirely new hazard awaiting potential returnees: thousands of potentially dangerous wild boars, many of which have infiltrated buildings and homes by the thousands, throughout much of Northern Japan.
According to the UK Mirror, a survey was taken of the boar population around one year ago, which indicated roughly 13,000 of the feral creatures were running loose in the “exclusion zone” deemed unsafe for human habitation… though the boars’ health is apparently unaffected, and they’re obviously breeding like crazy. [The Mirror’s headline boldly declares the boars are radioactive — but local experts dispute that claim.] The boars are not only multiplying at high rates, they’re also very hungry… and the aggressive beasts have been reportedly attacking humans as they venture outward to other towns in search of food.
Since that survey, progress has been made in culling the rogue animals — but due to the possibility of their flesh being contaminated by residual radiation or bacterial infections, the carcasses must be disposed of with particular care.
Fast-forward to today… where it seems the boar war clearly isn’t over.
According to a new report from Japan Times, authorities are still trying to drive the creatures out of the town of Namie, one of three towns from which the evacuation order is about to be lifted. Needless to say, authorities aren’t quite as ready to open the gates to residents as they’d hoped by this point.
So far special squads have managed to capture or kill around 300 of the animals, but it seems the ex-locals aren’t feeling any safer about coming back: the article cites a 2016 survey that shows less than half Namie’s original population of 21,500 is willing to return — even if the zone is declared radiation-free.
“It is not really clear now which is the master of the town,” said Namie’s mayor, Tamotsu Baba. “People… or wild boars.”