A wild boar with radiation levels 25 times the safe consumption limit has been shot in Sweden – the highest ever recorded in the Scandinavian country.
The 45kg animal was shot during a hunt in Tierp, Uppland, in south-central Sweden, and was found to have a radiation level of 39,706 becquerel per kilo (bq per kg).
This exceeds by far the safe consumption limit of 1,500 bq per kg set by Swedish authorities.
Roland Palm who shot the wild boar told a local hunting magazine that he thought the test had been misread.
‘I thought I was going to die, that must be almost luminescent!’, Mr Palm told Jaktjournalen.
The radiation found in the meat of wild boars in Sweden today comes from the fallout of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, the remains of which can still be found in the ground.
One of the reasons why levels this high have not been seen in Swedish wild boars in the past, is that the animals have not previously been found in the areas worst affected by the fallout.
As wild boars commonly dig for foods like truffles and other fungi, they are more likely to ingest items affected by the 1986 fallout than many other animals.
The Swedish Radiation Authority are currently offering free tests to establish how Swedish wild boars are affected by the fallout from Chernobyl.
The hunting team which slayed the record boar had killed two other boars which had measured 170bq per kg and 4,000bq per kg, showing huge variations even in local areas.
Experts put this variation down to diet, saying that it is likely that the record wild boar had ‘managed to stumble upon a big find of truffles’ with high radiation levels.