Municipalities struggling with disposal of culled wild boars（イノシシ急増、処分苦慮 「焼却」４割未満）
FUKUSHIMA － The number of wild boars that are being culled is rapidly increasing in Fukushima Prefecture, and relevant municipalities and hunters are struggling to dispose of the bodies, according to a survey conducted by the Fukushima prefectural government.
Of 15,467 wild boars killed in fiscal 2015, the bodies of only about 5,800, or 37 percent, were incinerated, which is the most hygienic method of disposal. The remaining about 9,600 boars were buried in the ground.
The damage caused by wild boars is becoming more serious, mainly in areas where evacuation instructions were issued after the nuclear accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Municipalities in the prefecture have a tough job securing sites to dispose of the bodies and maintaining a hygienic environment.
"It's tough work cutting up a boar, which can weigh as much as 100 kilograms. If we had an incinerator that didn't require dismembering, it would be very helpful. I hope one will be built in our district," Tadao Goto, the head of the Kori branch of the Fukushima prefectural hunters association, said in a tired manner.
Goto, 62, usually takes 30 to 40 minutes to cut up a single boar for disposal at an incineration facility of the Date district hygiene processing association.
It's also strenuous to dig a hole and bury a wild boar's body in accordance with the wildlife protection and hunting law, and there is a need to secure necessary sites. "Since we don't have a place to bury boars, we choose to incinerate them," said Goto, who captures about 40 wild boars a year.
However, dead boars quickly go bad in summer, causing a bad smell if their incineration is delayed.
Goto wants something like the incinerator used only for boars that is owned by a hygiene association formed by the city of Soma and the town of Shinchi, both in Fukushima Prefecture. The association built the incinerator in Soma and began operating it in April 2016.
The facility makes it possible to incinerate boars without dismembering them, and prevents the dissemination of radioactive materials with a filter. Over one year from the start of its operation, about 830 boars, including those captured in fiscal 2015 and kept in freezers, were incinerated. The association plans to incinerate about 600 boars a year in the future.
According to an official at the Soma municipal government, members of the hunters association became increasingly less motivated to hunt wild boars due to the problems related to the handling of the animals they bagged.
"Now their disposal is not a problem, which helped motivate the hunters association members again," the official said.
However, different municipalities have their own policies regarding the disposal of boars. In addition to Soma and Shinchi, the only place in the prefecture where it is possible to incinerate boars without dismembering them is the city of Fukushima, which has a facility with high incineration capacity.
In the other 35 municipalities, boars are first dismembered and then incinerated at nonindustrial waste incineration facilities or buried. Some municipalities do not use incineration facilities and just bury them in the ground.
◆8 times more captured
To prevent agricultural damage and harm to people, the prefectural government aims to capture 17,000 to 18,000 boars a year and reduce the population to 5,200 by fiscal 2019. The number of wild boars killed in fiscal 2016 is still being calculated, but it is belived to be about 24,000, which surpasses the prefecture's target and is eight times the about 3,000 in fiscal 2011.
Measures to hunt wild boars are on the right track, but many municipalities are troubled by the handling of them. Some municipalities are considering introducing incineration facilities just for boars, or equipment to degrade the bodies using microorganisms. However, to construct disposal facilities, which are generally regarded as "troublesome," it is necessary to obtain the understanding of local residents, so municipalities must handle the issue carefully.
"We'll think about the final disposal of wild boars with municipalities and act with them," an official at the prefectural government's natural protection section said.
（ Translated by The Japan News ）
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