What many people don’t think about is the wildlife affected by Fukushima. The animals in Fukushima not only faced the same risks that humans did, but many of them were not evacuated and were simply left to die. Some groups like the Nyander Guard Animal Shelter and a loose collection of farmers, as well as individuals like Naoto Matsumura, are stepping up to help these Fukushima disaster animals. While others, like the Japanese government itself, are attempting to have some of these radioactive euthanized in order to reduce contamination in the area. There’s a lot that we can learn from the animals living in Fukushima. These special radioactive animals are truly interesting creatures.
Naoto Matsumura, The Guardian Of Fukushima’s Animals
Despite the personal danger involved, Matsumura decided to dedicate his life to caring for these animals. His charges include a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, cows, ducks, ostrich, pigs, and a pony. One particular animal, a dog, had been locked in a shed for over a year, and had only survived by eating the flesh of a cow who had passed away in there with him. Thanks to Matsumura, the dog became healthy and happy.
Matsumura claimed he isn’t worried about what might happen to him as a result of living in a radioactive zone. He said he was worried about getting cancer or leukemia at first, but doctors assured him that would not happen for 30 or 40 years. As of 2017, he plans to spend the rest of his life caring for the animals of Fukushim – a goal which you can support through donations.
Radioactive Wild Boars Get Aggressive With Humans Trying To Move Back In
In March 2017, an evacuation order for the area was scheduled to be lifted. Violent boars ruling the town made it difficult, if not impossible, for the people of Fukushima to resettle peacefully. The humans aren’t taking it lying down, though. Squads of hunters are setting up cage traps that use rice flour for bait, and shooting boars with air rifles. A single squad, led by Shoichiro Sakamoto, has captured over 300 boars so far. Despite these efforts, the radioactive wild boars seem determined to continue living in the towns.
The Cats And Dogs At Nyander Guard, A Fukushima No-Kill Shelter
Unfortunately, finding people to adopt these animals has been a challenge. Not only are people wary about exposure to radiation, adopting animals from shelters isn’t a common practice in Japan. Usually, when people want pets, they buy them from pet shops. Also, because the Fukushima disaster wasn’t particularly recent, donations to their GoFundMe page have slowed to a crawl. These donations are desperately needed, especially for the cats, many of which are suffering from serious health problems as a result of the radiation.
Bird Populations In Fukushima Are Dropping
Some birds who are still alive are growing white patches in their feathers. Mousseau believes the white patches are caused by radiation-induced oxidative stress, but his opponents disagree, claiming the low doses of radiation in Fukushima aren’t enough to cause this, and the white patches are part of the normal molting cycle.
Butterflies Affected By Radiation Have Birth Defects
Tim Mousseau warns that humans shouldn’t extrapolate about the effects of radiation on humans based on what happened to the butterflies. Humans, he claims, are less sensitive to radiocontaminants than butterflies are.
Born only two months after the nuclear disaster, this rabbit symbolized the havoc the radiation could cause. The rabbit’s birth coincided with an announcement from Tokyo Electric, which stated seawater samples 150 miles north of Tokyo contained levels of radioactive strontium around 240 times the legal limit. Those levels were also found in the groundwater near two damaged nuclear reactors. While it was never proven that Ms. Sugimoto’s rabbit’s earlessness was caused by radiation, images of the rabbit still stirred up fears about what kinds of birth defects might occur in humans.
The Horses Of Minamisōma Thrive Despite Being Left To Die
Contaminated Salmon Made Their Way To The West Coast Of The US
While this sounds terrifying, it actually isn’t that bad. According to Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the levels found were too low to be harmful. In an interview with USA Today, he said: “To put it in context, if you were to swim everyday for six hours a day in those waters for a year, that additional radiation from the addressed cesium from Japan… is 1000 times smaller than one dental x-ray.”
Meanwhile, sea life around Fukushima seems to be doing just fine. Despite radioactive materials being dumped into the water, aquatic populations have remained relatively constant, and significant mutations have not been observed. This is probably because the ocean currents dispersed the toxic waste before it could have a serious impact on the ocean’s population. That said, radiation is still leaking into the ocean, and the true impact on sea life is still unknown.
A Group Of “Nuclear” Cattle Still Live On Their Farms, Despite Being Radioactive
While the farmers originally kept these cows alive out of affection, the cows now serve another important purpose. In 2013, 2013, Keiji Okada, an animal science expert at Iwate University, began doing research on the cows. While they got some information about the impact of radiation on animals like birds and insects, researchers know very little about how it impacts large mammals. Okada and his colleagues hope these cows will add to humanity’s store of knowledge.
Japanese Macaques Have Abnormal Blood Levels In Fukushima