No, really. It’s not a scene from a Japanese monster movie. Germany is having a significant issue with radioactive wild boar roaming the countryside… on top of the problem they’ve been having with the booming population.
Thanks to Kat for bringing this to my attention, following a brief report she just heard on NPR. I did a quick follow-up and found the source article by Charles Hawley, in The Spiegel Online. Here’s how it begins:
As Germany’s wild boar population has skyrocketed in recent years, so too has the number of animals contaminated by radioactivity left over from the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Government payments compensating hunters for lost income due to radioactive boar have quadrupled since 2007.
It’s no secret that Germany has a wild boar problem. Stories of marauding pigs hit the headlines with startling regularity: Ten days ago, a wild boar attacked a wheelchair-bound man in a park in Berlin; in early July, a pack of almost two dozen of the animals repeatedly marched into the eastern German town of Eisenach, frightening residents and keeping police busy; and on Friday morning, a German highway was closed for hours after 10 wild boar broke through a fence and waltzed onto the road.
Even worse, though, almost a quarter century after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Ukraine, a good chunk of Germany’s wild boar population remains slightly radioactive — and the phenomenon has been costing the German government an increasing amount of money in recent years.
According to the Environment Ministry in Berlin, almost €425,000 ($555,000) was paid out to hunters in 2009 in compensation for wild boar meat that was too contaminated by radiation to be sold for consumption. That total is more than four times higher than compensation payments made in 2007.
Read the rest of the piece here.
Sounds kind of dire. Even without the radiation issues, the booming boar population is a real problem. According to the article, German hunters killed almost three times as many wild boar in 2008-2009 as they did the previous year. Warmer winters and an expansion of corn farming are blamed for the burgeoning swine numbers.
Man, and Texas thought they had a problem!