The radioactive boar-pigs of Fukushima

I think the best word to describe this is “wild”. There are radioactive boar-pig hybrids living and thriving on the island of Fukushima.

ON MARCH 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake — the largest ever recorded in Japan — generated a tsunami that devastated the island nation. The tsunami also triggered an accident at a nuclear reactor in the Fukushima region of Japan, leading to the evacuation of 164,000 residents within a 20-kilometer radius of the reactor.

Among the evacuees were pig farmers who left their swine behind — fleeing from the threat of nuclear radiation.

According to research published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the absence of humans and the sudden release of pigs into the wild led to new boar-pig hybrids that are now reclaiming Fukushima — though researchers don’t know if these hybrids will last in the long run.

A similar thing has happened in Chernobyl where wolves and elk are living in the radioactive zone and new plants are growing where people can no longer live. This goes to show how resilient nature can be despite humanity’s best efforts to destroy it. But there’s a catch: what happens when people go back to Fukushima?

The eventual return of humans to Fukushima will likely challenge the boars’ ability to roam freely as well, potentially putting an end to the boars’ free reign over the land.

“We do not expect these adaption changes in boar, likely caused from the absence of people, to maintain in populations especially as [human] disturbance returns,” Anderson says.

For now, this sounder will continue to pillage and roam — as humans consider whether or not they are ready to return to the region they were forced to abandon.

Reminds a little of the cocaine hippos of Colombia.

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