Radioactive wild boars are reportedly roaming the forests of Germany, some giving off such high levels of radiation that they’re unfit for human consumption nearly three decades after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.
The Telegraph reports that recent tests by the state government of Saxony found that more than one in three boars exceeded safe radiation levels. The animals, native to northern and central Europe, still roam Germany’s wooded lands, where they’re hunted and sold as a delicacy.
The radioactive ancestors of the domestic pig are thought to be an unintended consequence of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, when a nuclear power plant reactor exploded, releasing a massive amount of radioactive particles into the atmosphere. Saxony is some 700 miles from Chernobyl; the radioactivity was carried by wind, rain and other factors.
Wild boar, in particular, are believed to be acutely affected because they root in soil for food, often eating mushrooms and truffles, both of which grow underground and store radiation.
A total of 297 of 752 boars tested in Saxony have tested over the limit, with some animals testing dozens of times over established limits. Experts reportedly predict Germany’s radioactive boar problem to be an issue for another 50 years, the newspaper reports.
Many hunters sell wild boar as game and hundreds of thousands of Euros are doled out annually in government compensation for kills that have to be destroyed.
"It doesn't cover the loss from game sales, but at least it covers the cost of disposal," Steffen Richter, the head of the Saxon State Hunters Association, told Bild newspaper.