Radioactive pig hybrids have taken over a nuclear disaster site in Japan

There's a new scientific paper out from the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, which studied the outbreak of wild boar in the area affected by the Fukushima nuclear explosion in 2011. As The Register explains:

The local wild boar – a subspecies endemic to the region known as the Japanese Boar (aka Sus scrofa leucomystax or the White-Moustached Pig) – having created a fiefdom covering all of the locale vacated by over 160,000 displaced humans, became cocky and aggressive, and also lost their natural wariness.

The marauding boar also began interbreeding with escaped domestic pigs that had made good with their trotters from local farms after their human keepers had been forced to flee. The pigs, for their part, were ill-suited to life in the wild in a radioactive, post-apocalyptic hellscape and presumably threw in their lot with the tough, wily boar as their best chance of survival.

The result was a new kind of boar-pig hybrid that originated in the initial exclusion zone within 20km of the site of the nuclear plant, where radiation levels were presumably highest. The study found that the hybrids did not display any signs of mutation, despite the doses of radiation they were subjected to. Indeed, surveys of the local boar population found they are contaminated by up to 300 times the safe human dosage of the lethal isotope caesium-137 [PDF]. In other words, they are highly radioactive and seemingly virtually indestructible.

These radioactive pig hybrids are now believed to comprise about 10 percent of the total swine population in the area — which is no small feat for a mere decade of reproduction. They're also quite aggressive, and have not been keen on human attempts to re-settle or re-claim the area.

Godzilla could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Introgression dynamics from invasive pigs into wild boar following the March 2011 natural and anthropogenic disasters at Fukushima [Donovan Anderson, Yuki Negishi , Hiroko Ishiniwa , Kei Okuda , Thomas G. Hinton , Rio Toma , Junco Nagata , Hidetoshi B. Tamate and Shingo Kaneko / The Royal Society of Publishing]

Radioactive hybrid terror pigs have made themselves a home in Fukushima's exclusion zone [Matt Dupuy / The Register]

Fukushima-hit towns scramble to clear out wild boars [Reuters]

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