Photos show nuclear tragedy’s toll on pets

They never came back because the radiation levels were too high. The animal rescue teams knew the animals were abandoned and left there, so they had three weeks to go in there to find them,” said O’Connor, who added that farm animals usually had to be euthanized.

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Akira Honda, founder of Nyander Guard Animal Rescue, shows photos of animals left behind in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. The photos are on display at Ventura County Animal Services’ Camarillo shelter.

Shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 in Japan, nearby residents were immediately evacuated from their homes because of the risk of radiation exposure. They were forced to leave their animals behind.

Akira Honda, nicknamed Taicho, immediately raced to the disaster area from his hometown six hours away to help, and realized the need for an animal shelter near the radiation-contaminated exclusion zone.

A month later, Taicho established the Nyander Guard Animal Rescue about 25 miles away.

Photos of the animal rescue operation in Japan are being exhibited until Tuesday at the Ventura County Animal Services shelter in Camarillo. A fundraiser is also being held for the continued care of animals at Nyander Guard.

Taicho toured the no-kill Camarillo shelter, met with Camarillo Mayor Mike Morgan and shared his story with visitors to the shelter on Saturday.

Visitors to the exhibit have an opportunity to donate to Nyander Guard, which has rescued 740 dogs and cats and currently cares for more than 200 animals.

Kerry O’Connor, a Nyander Guard volunteer from Camarillo who now lives in Japan, helped bring the photo exhibit to the Camarillo shelter. Some of the photos of animals with severe injuries are too graphic and are kept in a separate notebook that can still be viewed.

O’Connor went to Japan to volunteer after the nuclear disaster that followed an earthquake and tsunami. She said residents in Fukushima were assured they’d be back at home after a day or so, so they left their animals.

They never came back because the radiation levels were too high. The animal rescue teams knew the animals were abandoned and left there, so they had three weeks to go in there to find them,” said O’Connor, who added that farm animals usually had to be euthanized.

A lot of people were scared but realized saving the animals was the right thing to do,” said O’Connor, who translated for the Japanese-speaking Taicho.

She said the rescued dogs and cats had been exposed to radiation.

But unless you had a really high dosage in a short amount of time, it really does not affect them until about 30 years later, and they don’t live that long,” O’Connor said.

Taicho had a cat rescue operation before he started Nyander Guard.

At Nyander Guard, cats are able to roam in cat rooms, while bigger dogs have spacious kennels and smaller dogs are kept indoors. The dogs are walked twice a day and sometimes taken on trips to parks.

Although five years have passed since the disaster, the shelter still rescues and feeds abandoned animals in the restricted areas, which are becoming extremely hard to enter.

In addition to Nyander Guard, Taicho recently acquired another shelter that aided in rescuing the Fukushima animals, which tripling the staff’s work.

His goal is to make Japan a place where animals shelters are no-kill and to start a national protection organization.

http://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2016/09/17/photos-show-nuclear-tragedys-toll-pets/90376664/

Study on the impact of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident On Animals:
(Adobe. 64pg. PDF.)

http://noui.kitasato-u.ac.jp/study_impact.pdf

 

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