What Wild Boars, Radioactivity, and Bavaria Have in Common

20 Aug

One local attraction near Erlangen is a large penned off part of the forest where you can see families of wild boars grunting around in the mud looking for goodies, like mushrooms, to eat.  However, if recent news reports are right, going to see these animals, even in a controlled setting, might bring with it some unexpected risks.

The Number of Radioactive Wild Boars in Bavarian Forests is on the Rise!

In the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, governments across the globe dealt with their gross lack of knowledge about what the exact consequences might be in very different ways.  In France, the official position at the time consisted in saying that a high-pressure weather system was protecting the population from the radiation and had stopped the cloud at the French border.  The absurdity of this is of course now laughable, but at the time one can understand that people certainly wanted to believe it was true.

The long-term effects are still being felt across Europe, and Bavaria has come to center stage recently with reports that the number of wild boars found with potentially dangerous levels of radioactive Cesium-137 is on the rise.  The boars are contaminated through the food chain, due to their diet consisting mainly of wild mushrooms and berries.  Some boars tested had up to 10 times the level normally tolerated!

What is a hungry hunter to do?

Boar meat is considered prized game meat for some, and the German government has taken solid measures to ensure that consumers will not be buying and eating contaminated meat.  In order to encourage hunters to test and turn over contaminated animals, the German Atomic Energy Law provides for financial compensation – approximately 100 to 200 euros per animal depending on the size. The German government shelled out over 420 000 euros last year alone to hunters and hunting associations.  In a context of growing wild boar populations, coupled with the fact that the contaminant (cesium-137) has a half-life of approximately 30 years, one can only expect this sum to be on the rise in the years to come.

So, no need to panic, but if you see something glowing on the horizon during your next walk through the woods, I would probably head the other way.

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Further info:

Associated Press

AFP

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3 Responses to “What Wild Boars, Radioactivity, and Bavaria Have in Common”

  1. Karl August 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    What do I do if I see “something glowing” on the table, and it turns out to be the ham in my Boars Head ham sandwich ?

  2. E. September 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

    What do you know, these creatures are already violent and quite dangerous, and you’re not supposed to stay put when you come across there paths !! Seriously, I came pretty close to some wild boars in Corsica, and I knew that you’re not supposed to do anything to make them feel in danger, so I stayed put and waited for them to leave, but I was not proud when I got back to the house we rented back there !! They’re way bigger than you’d think !!
    So I say, radioactive or not, run away !! If they’re high from the radioactivity, they might even be more dangerous, with some kind of erratic behaviour !!

    • bavariaundercover September 2, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

      I remember seeing those pics of corsican boars and wondering what the rest of the story was. Now I know (lol).

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