Five years after a tsunami ravaged through Fukushima and destroyed one of its power plants, radioactive wild boars flourished in now deserted and poisoned land.
The population of wild boars exploded over the past few years, and neighboring communities complained about how the boars are terrorizing residents. An estimated $15 million worth of agricultural damage has been done since the population of the animal ballooned.
The Japanese people won't forget the gigantic tsunami that came after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck offshore near Tokyo on March 11, 2011. The 30-foot tsunami took about 18,000 lives.
Water gushed into the Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant, leading to a big explosion. At least 200,000 residents were evacuated since the radioactive material had leaked out.
The wild boars have eaten contaminated food from the radioactive material that leaked from the plant. Because of this, they are marked unsafe for human consumption and have been multiplying in numbers uncontrollably.
"That wildlife started increasing when humans abandoned the area in 1986 is not earth-shattering news," said Tom Hinton, a radio-ecology expert.
The surprising thing in this scenario is that animals were able to survive in a place that is considered most radioactively contaminated across the globe.
The wild boar population ballooned from 3,000 in 2014 to 13,000 at present. They have become so copious that officials and hunters tried to cull the animals, but are having a hard time discarding corpses.
Taking care of the mess have been a headache to hunters. Disposal areas have presented problems since mass graves have been filled rapidly. The authorities opted to open special facilities for these animals to prevent radioactive material from spreading, but they could only cater three boars per day, thus, can't cope with the numbers.
In the past, radioactive boars threatened humanity, too. In 2014, 297 out of 752 tested boars found near the German state of Saxony had high levels of radiation. Experts linked this event as a result of the Chernobyl disaster, which occurred 28 years ago and 700 miles from the area.
Radiation levels will remain high for about three decades, experts estimate.
Photo: Adrian Korte | Flickr