By Lizzie Dearden
Hunters have been called in to kill radioactive wild boars that have taken over towns evacuated during the Fukushima nuclear disaster before their residents return.
Six years after Japan‘s devastating earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, four evacuated towns have been declared safe.
But there is concern over a risk posed by new residents, hundreds of wild boars, who can attack people or cause potentially fatal car crashes.
ments from the disaster site, prompting a government ban on eating them.
“After people left, their ecosystem changed,” hunter Shoichi Sakamoto told the BBC.
“They began coming down from the mountains and now they’re not going back.
“They found a place that’s comfortable – there’s plenty of food and no one will come after them. This is their new home now, and this is where they have children.”
He leads a team of 13 hunters assigned to catch and kill the wild boars using air rifles, trapping them in cages by using rice flour as bait.
Since last April, the squad has captured around 300 of the animals, and the hunters intend to keep working even after the evacuation orders are scrapped.
Hundreds more of the boars are believed to live near the towns of Tomioka and Namie, roaming the empty streets and deserted gardens to forage for food.
“It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars,” said Namie’s mayor, Tamotsu Baba. “If we don’t get rid of them and turn this into a human-led town, the situation will get even wilder and uninhabitable.”
At the end of March, Japan is set to lift evacuation orders for residential ar