MUNICH (MunichNOW News) — Wild boars are hunted and consumed as a delicacy in Germany. Their diet is mainly comprised of mushrooms and other underground fungi, which exposes the boars to radiation emissions.
The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl occurred nearly three decades ago, but the radioactive legacy it has left on the landscape still continues today. Health hazards had the greatest consequences in Ukraine and nearby Belarus; nonetheless, multiple European countries situated hundreds of miles away felt the aftermath as well. Wind and rain drove the radioactive matter east to Moscow, west to Poland, as far north as Sweden and Finland, and southwest to Germany.
Since 2012, wild boars that are killed in Germany are required to be tested for radiation. In one year, the state reports that 297 of 752 boars tested contained more than the safe limit of 600 Becquerels of radioactive material caesium-137 per kilogram for human consumption. Some boars tested had radiation levels dozens of times higher than the safe limit.
Caesium, when in contact with the human body, especially in high levels, is thought to cause a risk for various types of cancer. Caesium also accumulates over time in the soil, which makes boars susceptible. Boars tend to follow the scent of fungi (mushrooms) through forest soil with their snouts and feed on the kinds of mushroom that tend to store radioactivity.
The radiation has had several effects on the German environment that surpass the problems caused by contaminated boars. The German government has to provide compensation for the hunters who have not been able to sell their boars as game. According to the prevailing levels of radiation that have been determined, experts predict the complications caused by the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl won’t go away for some time. It may even be another 50 years until the entire boar population reaches suitable radiation levels.
Wind and rain drove the radioactive matter east to Moscow, west to Poland,
as far north as Sweden and Finland, and southwest to Germany.
Baetz, Juergen. “Radioactive Boars in Germany a Legacy of Chernobyl.”The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 1 Apr. 2011. 11 June 2015.
Huggler, Justin. “Radioactive Wild Boar Roaming the Forests of Germany.”The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 1 Sept. 2014. 11 June 2015.