C'mon, who doesn't love wild boar? That gamy flavor, the pungent aroma, the gamma rays...
Wild boar are particularly susceptible to radioactive contamination due to their predilection for chomping on mushrooms and truffles, which are particularly efficient at absorbing radioactivity. Indeed, whereas radioactivity in some vegetation is expected to continue declining, the contamination of some types of mushrooms and truffles will likely remain the same, and may even rise slightly -- even a quarter century after the Chernobyl accident.Yum.
"In the regions where it is particularly problematic, all boar that are shot are checked for radiation," reports Andreas Leppmann, from the German Hunting Federation. There are 70 measuring stations in Bavaria alone.
In addition, for the last year and a half, Bavarian hunters have been testing ways to reduce the amount of caesium-137 absorbed by wild boar. A chemical mixture known as Giese salt, when ingested, has been shown to accelerate the excretion of the radioactive substance. Giese salt, also known as AFCF, is a caesium binder and has been used successfully to reduce radiation in farm animals after Chernobyl. According to Joachim Reddemann, an expert on radioactivity in wild boar with the Bavarian Hunting Federation, a pilot program in Bavaria that started a year and a half ago has managed to significantly reduce the number of contaminated animals. Government compensation payments to hunters remain a small part of the €238 million recompense the German government has shelled out for damages relating to Chernobyl since reactor IV exploded on April 26, 1986. Furthermore, there is some relief in sight. Even as wild boar continue to show a fondness for making the headlines, the recent hard winter has had its effect on population numbers. So far this year, Berlin has only had to pay out €130,000 for radioactive boar.
But radioactivity in wild boar isn't likely to disappear soon. "The problem has been at a high level for a long time," says Reddemann. "It will likely remain that way for at least the next 50 years." [More]