Thursday, 17 April 2014

Šumava's wild boars still radioactive

12 December 2012

Prague, Dec 11 (CTK) - Wild boars in the Sumava National Park, southwest Bohemia, still have caesium from the Chernobyl accident in their bodies though more than half a century has elapsed since the disastrous accident in the Ukrainian nuclear power plant, daily Pravo writes yesterday.

Fresh data issued by the State Veterinary Authority show that 33 of the 44 wild boars shot dead this year in the areas of Prasily and Srni, both towns in the western part of the Sumava National Park (NPS), were contaminated with excessive radioactivity.

The dangerous substance "is caesium, which was a part of the radioactive cloud produced by the [Chernobyl] explosion, which spread across Europe" after the accident in April 1986, NPS spokesman Pavel Pechousek told Pravo.

Boars are fortunately not contaminated elsewhere in Sumava, NPS deputy director Jan Kozel said.

He explained that the boar population has been reduced by hunting in Sumava as a step to protect rare wood grouses, whose eggs and chicken the boars tend to liquidate.

Sumava prides in Europe's unique wood grouse population, Pravo writes.

In the Prasily and Srni localities, the excessive levels of caesium were uncovered in boar meat last year. In September 2011, the veterinary authority ordered that the NPS management have each shot boar tested for radioactivity, one test costing 1400 crowns, Pravo writes.

If an excessive caesium level is uncovered in the animal's meat, the NPS must liquidate the animal, which costs further 500 crowns.

This year the costs of the tests and liquidation of contaminated animals have climbed to 100,000 crowns, Kozel said.

The NPS management considered using the contaminated meat as feed for an injured young lynx placed in a local rescue centre for handicapped animals. However, the contamination showed too high to feed animals with the meat, Kozel is quoted as saying.

($1=19.517 crowns)

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