Last Updated on July 1, 2021 by MyGh.Online
Radioactive wild boars have been breeding with Japan’s domestic pigs to create a new hybrid species, researchers say.
Scientists investigating the effects of Fukushima’s nuclear disaster in 2011 on the region’s animals report that radiation has had no adverse effects on their genetics.
However, the area’s wild boars bred with domestic pigs that escaped from nearby properties after farmers had to flee, creating a new hybrid species.
A study has led by Donovan Anderson, a researcher at Fukushima University in Japan, analysed DNA samples from muscles of 243 wild boars, pigs and boar-pig hybrids, taken from local slaughterhouses.
The results proved that 31 wild boar, or 16% of the wild boar from the evacuated zone, were hybrids.
Anderson and his team said in a statement: “We show evidence of successful hybridisation between pigs and native wild boar in this area.
“We recommend that future studies assess the fitness of these hybrids and better characterise their ecological niche.”
The team also claim that while the boar-pigs are radioactive, the study did not link radioactivity with the creation of the new hybrid species.
Speaking to Mail Online, Anderson said: “The fact the pigs and boars have cross-bred has nothing to do with radiation.
“While the boar and hybrids are technically radioactive, the radiation had nothing to do with the genetic changes – this was the pigs’ fault.
“The wild boar in Fukushima are still relatively contaminated and can range from as no detection of radionuclides to 30,000 becquerels per kilogram.”
But the experts claim that this measurement of radioactivity would be “very insignificant” if humans were to consume meat products from the animals.
The radiation which lingers in the area was caused by the Fukushima disaster in 2011, which permanently shifted large parts of Honshu, the country’s main island, several meters to the east.
It launched 130ft tsunami waves which destroyed the homes of 450,000 people and sending several nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into meltdown.
The stream of toxic, radioactive materials spewed into the atmosphere and forced thousands nearby to flee their homes.
The lack of human presence in the area has been linked to the breeding of this new species.