We’ve all heard the crazy stories about radioactive boar roaming the nuclear wastelands of Fukushima.
But such an outlandish tale can’t possibly be true, can it?
No-one has ever seen pictures of these creatures
These incredibly unusual photographs of the terrifying mammals were taken in the exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant, whose reactors went into meltdown after it was struck by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
There have been many obvious dangers faced by Japan in the wake of the disaster, but one of the most unexpected has also proved to be one of the most fascinating.
When the exclusion zone was set up – with the surrounding towns population evacuated to a safe distance – hundreds of the wild boars, which have been known to attack people when enraged, descended from surrounding hills and forests into the deserted streets.
Now they roam the empty streets and overgrown garden’s of Japan’s deserted seaside town of Namie, foraging for food
However, the people of Namie are scheduled to return to the town at the end of the month, which means the bloody-toothed interlopers have to be cleared.
“It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars,” said Tamotsu Baba, mayor of the town.
“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 parts of Namie, located just 2.5 miles from the wrecked nuclear plant, as well as three other towns.
In the nearby town of Tomioka, hunter Shoichiro Sakamoto leads a team of 13 assigned to catch and kill the wild boars with air rifles. Twice a week, they set about 30 cage traps, using rice flour as bait.
“After people left, they began coming down from the mountains and now they are not going back,” he said.
“They found a place that was comfortable. There was plenty of food and no one to come after them.”
Reuters photographer Toru Hanai braved the radiation to accompany the culling team and took these incredible photos.
Since last April, the squad has captured about 300 of the animals, and intends to keep up its work even after the evacuation orders are scrapped.