Obviously, if you want to be rid of the wild boars overrunning your neighbourhood, you import their natural predators. You bring in grey wolves, tigers, and komodo dragons. The Japanese authorities now rely on gun-totin’ hunters. According to news reports, they have already nailed eight hundred of the beasts in the Fukushima district where, according to the same news reports, the boars had been flourishing thanks to the eviction of 150,000 human residents after the nuclear plant meltdown. They (the boars) had been making themselves at home in abandoned houses, and are reputed to stalk people outdoors when they haven’t already surprised them as squatters. Forest rats, larger deer, tanuki (“raccoon dogs”), and green pheasants have also been spotted by the returnees — all among traditional mountain fare in those islands — but all assumed to be heavily irradiated, so that Shogun says don’t eat them.
A pity, if gentle reader was dreaming of a botan nabe hotpot, with bamboo shoots and mushrooms, in a white miso sauce; perhaps with a side of bonzai prawns. One ought not to be mulling such things in Lent.
But what about that radiation? Not only around Fukushima, after six years, but Chernobyl after thirty, a wide variety of game has thrived, so well that the emigration of radioactive boars has been mentioned as “a problem” in Hungary and Czechia. Yet these animals were in the finest fettle, and after Easter, I’d be happy to try them in a goulash, provided only that gentle reader goes first. After all, if we overlook a slight increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer, that may be statistically insignificant, people who hung around haven’t suffered either. I suspect the warnings have been overdone, and what we have is the usual post-modern outbreak of neurosis.
If I returned to the High Doganate to find a wild boar had installed himself as my flatmate, the question whether he was glowing would not be the first I’d ask. Rather, I would call in my Swedish friend, whose wilderness skills make him my go-to guy for large ungulate pest control. But truth to tell, I have not encountered that or any similar inconvenience in all the time I’ve lived here. They are the tenants across the street, in the halfway homes for the criminally insane, whom I find more “concerning.” (Fortunately, the Tibetans have opened a new dzong farther down, which promises to improve local karma levels.)
As a diligent reader of Muir and Thoreau (some time ago), I’m entirely in favour of wilderness preservation, and perhaps wilderness creation, though not by legislation. I think nuclear accidents may be the means by which this cause can be advanced, through private enterprise. To which end I note that we have an antiquated reactor at Pickering to our east, that might at any moment improve the aesthetics of Oshawa; and were it not that our breeze prevails westerly, I’d recommend the slovenly construction of a new one for Mimico, just across Humber Bay.
For to my mind we call too many things “problems” today, which might more positively be identified as “solutions.”