As bushes are back growing in Fukushima Prefecture, wild boars are also back and in increasing number. The prefecture’s agriculture is now threatened as the swine extend their food hunting to farmlands. The wild boars have been able to sneak in by hiding among the bushes. They have even entered the 20-km exclusion zone following the Fukushima meltdown.
Before the nuclear disaster, Fukushima was clear of bushes, thus depriving wild boars of places to hide. Hunting has also been a frequent activity, which kept the boars from coming to places where people could find and hunt them. But the decreased frequency of hunting have made the wild animals bold enough to go to places they rarely visited before. There were 3,736 wild boars captured in the prefecture during fiscal 2010 but the number increased in fiscal 2012 with a total of 4,856. Based on a study by the Environment Ministry in 2012, almost every area within the 20-km exclusion zone has had wild boars. According to the ministry, “It is very likely that the area of their activities expanded since many people were evacuated [from the exclusion zone] and the number of boars captured is decreasing.”
The number of hunters in Fukushima Prefecture has also decreased over the years. In fiscal 2010, there were 4,779 licensed hunters. The number decreased by one-third in fiscal 2011 with only 3,328 licensed hunters. The number hasn’t increased especially with the discouragement of wild boar meat being reckoned to have also been irradiated.
Noriyoshi Kato, a farmer from Onami disctrict in the capital city, return planting rice after the district ban was lifted by the government. However, his rice field has gone nowhere profitable in late August. It was only a month away before harvest, but wild boars came one night to feed on the grains. Although Kato built an electric fence around his paddy, the swine were able to trespass by crawling under the fence. “The boars wouldn’t come near the rice paddies before the accident,” said Kato, referring to the nuclear meltdown.
[via Japan Times]
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