Credit: Rescuing Animals in Fukushima
Via The Japan Times, a report on the creatures left behind three years ago: Fukushima: animal kingdom. Excerpt:
When residents were ordered to evacuate large swathes of the prefecture in the wake of the hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, they were barred from bringing their pets. Approximately 5,800 dogs were registered as being in the government-designated exclusion zones on the day that residents were ordered to leave their homes. If other pets and unregistered canines are included, some estimates suggest that as many as 10,000 animals were left behind.
“We witnessed scenes that were beyond our imagination,” says Naomi Inoue, a member of nonprofit organization Rescuing Animals in Fukushima, when asked about her first visits back to the region after temporary visits were allowed.
“We saw frail dogs on leashes and cats inside homes. Some of them had already starved to death,” Inoue says. “We saw animal corpses everywhere.”
Many of the animals that managed to survive — including crows, cats, raccoon dogs, civet cats and what appeared to be a hybrid of wild boar and domestic pig — are now roaming in the streets of coastal towns in Fukushima.
“There aren’t that many stray dogs,” says Kuro, a member of RAIF who declined to give his real name. “I assume this is because most dogs were kept on a leash at their homes.”
Kuro visits the region most weekends. He carries 3 tons of pet food on each trip, leaving it behind for the animals to eat after he leaves the area.
He says that winters are particularly gruelling for animals in the prefecture, as food sources become scarce.
Cats rely almost exclusively on the food that RAIF leaves them — especially since their competition includes quicker crows and stronger boars.