The World Daily
Wildlife flourishes around Fukushima fallout zone

Thousands of radioactive boars are overrunning farmland in Fukushima. Photo: iStock/The Washington Post


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | SEPTEMBER 28th 2021 


It’s been over a decade since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, when an earthquake caused nuclear meltdowns, forcing thousands of people to flee the area. Recent studies have, however, shown that the wildlife around the zone has flourished without human intervention.

The Fukushima crisis of 2011 remains one of Japan’s most disastrous recent memories, having been spurred by an earthquake-induced tsunami that battered the city and gained worldwide attention. Three of the six nuclear reactors on the site had suffered a severe meltdown, forcing at least 154,000 people to evacuate the area.

Following a decade onwards from the incident, this absence of people in the area has led to the formation of an environment that’s proven rather positive for flourishing wildlife. One of which includes the so-called ‘hybrid terror pigs’ – a result of the local species of Japanese Boar (also called Sus scrofa leucomystax) having inter-bred with escaped domestic pigs in the area, developing over time to have lost their weary nature and grown increasingly aggressive.

The resulting hybrid species have thrived for a long time in the site’s exclusion zone, found within 20 kilometers from the long-abandoned nuclear power plant – where the radiation is still said to be at its highest. It’s been noted by scientists that these species carry roughly 300 times the amount of radiation for any human to safely handle.

However, these aren’t the only species that are flourishing in the Fukushima exclusion zone. It’s been found that several threatened or endangered species are finding a home in the area, reclaiming it from humanity. Biodiversity has been doing particularly well in previous farmlands and rice paddies, according to surveys.

“When word spreads that coastal areas and rice paddies in Fukushima are safe places where many rare creatures live, it should help overcome the negative reputation,” said a researcher at the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre, Toshimasa Mitamura.

It’s unclear thus far whether the area is prepared for the return of humanity – nor whether or not humanity would be able to deal with the radioactive species that may threaten them there, including the dangerous boar hybrids. The species would need to be entirely eliminated in order to assure people a safe return to their once-homes. 


Nine areas in the Fukushima prefecture, which include 12 areas of wetlands and mudflats had been placed under special protections in order to allow the species to continue thriving.

Through 2018 and 2020, 44 rice paddies in eight municipalities had been put under study and it was found that the biodiversity had been especially high in these agricultural areas. In 2018, it was noted that between 20-60% of the areas had rather high rates of biodiversity. Whereas in 2020, this figure had seen a drastic jump up to 60-80% of areas having high biodiversity.

“Prefectural and central government authorities thought about conservation in a flexible manner, and the important wetlands still remain as a result,” said a Fukushima University professor of plant taxonomy, Takahide Kurosawa.

Other research still take place in the area to this day – including a study involving fitting local snakes with trackers in order to gauge the radiation levels, primarily radiocesium 134 and 137, around the Fukushima exclusion zone. Whether or not the area will become liveable for humans again anytime soon is widely up for debate, but in the meantime, it’s become an ideal spot for wildlife to resurge. 


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2021 

Source: Gulf Guardian, The Register