Wild boars are tough and scary animals—mean, omnivorous, highly adaptable, and prone to charge when enraged. In Japan, they have also taken on a new nuclear twist… and taken over towns.
In March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was damaged during a tsunami and earthquake. Many residents of Fukushima prefecture cleared out of their towns, especially in the Futuba district near the plant. Wild pigs living in the nearby mountains then wandered down and made themselves at home. Now they are radioactive and roaming through the streets, according to Reuters.
Since April 2016, officials have rounded up about 300 wild boars. But it’s not yet certain that humans will win back the territory.
Mayor Tamotsu Baba of Namie, a seaside town run over by boars, confessed to Reuters, “It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars. If we don’t get rid of them and turn this into a human-led town, the situation will get even wilder and uninhabitable.”
Residents have been partly cleared to return to their abandoned homes next month. Responding to a government survey last year, however, about half of Namie’s 21,500 residents said they would not go back and cited concerns about radioactivity.
Now they’ve got another good reason to fear returning, something straight out of a horror movie, or worse: wild radioactive boars.