[ RadSafe ] RADIOACTIVE BOAR ON RISE IN GERMANY
Jess L. Addis III
ajess at clemson.edu
Sat Jul 31 22:51:58 CDT 2010
We have locals here in the southern Appalachians that track and take wild boar alive, confine them and feed them out and consume them. I was stunned to learn this is considered as a "sport" to some. Radioactivity would be way down on my list of things to worry about when it comes to this enterprise. The physical harm these beast can do to the hunter, their canine assistants, serious zoonotic diseases and parasite uptake from wild swine would trump mere radioactivity by far.
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Franz Schönhofer
Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2010 7:03 PM
To: 'Roger Helbig'; radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] RADIOACTIVE BOAR ON RISE IN GERMANY
Roger and RADSAFErs,
Yes, there has ever since Chernobyl been a "problem" with wild boar in
certain parts of central Europe, not only Germany. And, yes, I know
something about it, because I have together with my collegue Frieda Tataruch
followed contamination of game in Austria by measurements very closely and
had an eye on the situation in other parts of Europe.
Since it is close to 1 am I will not go into further detail, but shortly:
"Der Spiegel" is in my opinion one of the worst journals I know - pretending
to be the intellectual "non plus ultra", distributing gossip from "high
level" persons and as concerning radiation matters supporting any green
nonsense. So for instance, Roger, your recently mentioned Schmitz-Feuerhake:
She is something like a president of an obscure "German Radiation Protection
Society", which consists of hard-core anti-nuclear persons - and "Der
Spiegel" never mentions the world wide well esteemed "Fachverband für
Strahlenschutz" which represents both German and Swiss world wide known and
renowed experts on radiation protection. (The Austrian Radiation Protection
Society cooperates tightly.) They distribute any nonsense that this obscure
society claims and even actively ask them for comments.
Don't take anything serious from Spiegel. If I have time I will go later
into detail on wild boars.
Finally: The dose is not dependent on the concentration in food, but depends
even more on the consumption rate. How many gramms of wild boar meat is
consumed by the average population? One should think twice about the horror
stories of a distainable sensational pseudo-intellectual journal.
Best regards and good night!
Franz Schoenhofer, PhD
Von: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] Im Auftrag von Roger Helbig
Gesendet: Samstag, 31. Juli 2010 22:47
An: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Betreff: [ RadSafe ] RADIOACTIVE BOAR ON RISE IN GERMANY
This seems rather incredible but was carried by Der Spiegel - does anyone
have independent source to verify this claim of radioactive wild boars
resulting from Chernobyl?
Charles Hawley reports:
"As Germany's wild boar population has skyrocketed in recent years, so too
has the number of animals contaminated by radioactivity left over from the
Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Government payments compensating hunters for
lost income due to radioactive boar have quadrupled since 2007.
"It's no secret that Germany has a wild boar problem. Stories of marauding
pigs hit the headlines with startling regularity: Ten days ago, a wild boar
attacked a wheelchair-bound man in a park in Berlin; in early July, a pack
of almost two dozen of the animals repeatedly marched into the eastern
German town of Eisenach, frightening residents and keeping police busy; and
on Friday morning, a German highway was closed for hours after 10 wild boar
broke through a fence and waltzed onto the road.
"Even worse, though, almost a quarter century after the Chernobyl nuclear
meltdown in Ukraine, a good chunk of Germany's wild boar population remains
slightly radioactive -- and the phenomenon has been costing the German
government an increasing amount of money in recent years.
"According to the Environment Ministry in Berlin, almost €425,000 ($555,000)
was paid out to hunters in 2009 in compensation for wild boar meat that was
too contaminated by radiation to be sold for consumption. That total is more
than four times higher than compensation payments made in 2007."
A Quarter Century after Chernobyl Radioactive Boar on the Rise in Germany
By Charles Hawley
...The reason for the climbing goverrnment payments, of course, has more to
do with Germany's skyrocketing wild boar population than with an increase in
radioactive contamination. "In the last couple of years, wild boar have
rapidly multiplied," a spokesman from the Environment Ministry confirmed to
SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Not only is there more corn being farmed, but warmer
winters have also contributed to a boar boom."
Numbers from the German Hunting Federation confirm the population increase.
In the 2008/2009 season, a record number of boar were shot, almost 650,000
against just 287,000 a year previously.
Many of the boar that are killed land on the plates of diners across
Germany, but it is forbidden to sell meat containing high levels of
radioactive caesium-137 -- any animals showing contamination levels higher
than 600 becquerel per kilogram must be disposed of. But in some areas of
Germany, particularly in the south, wild boar routinely show much higher
levels of contamination. According to the Environment Ministry, the average
contamination for boar shot in Bayerischer Wald, a forested region on the
Bavarian border with the Czech Republic, was 7,000 becquerel per kilogram.
Other regions in southern Germany aren't much better.
Germany's Atomic Energy Law, which regulates the use of nuclear energy in
the country, mandates that the government in Berlin pay compensation to
hunters who harvest contaminated animals.
*Contaminated Wild Pig*
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
"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."
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