Areas of Fukushima previously abandoned in March 2011 have been declared safe to return to. At the end of March, Japan lifted evacuation orders for residential areas, including abandoned towns, just 2.5 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. 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.
“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.” 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.
The animals have been gorging themselves on plants contaminated with radioactive elements 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.”
Hunters have now been called in to kill these radioactive wild boars before the real residents return. In the photo above, members of Tomioka Town’s animal control hunters group take a photo of wild boars they killed in a residential area near TEPCO’s crippled nuclear power plant.