Whirl Of Wildcats
(image via: Huis Marseille, Yasusuke Ota)
Being basically self-domesticated creatures, cats revert to a feral lifestyle quite easily even in settings not beset by disaster. Fukushima’s feral cat population has grown unchecked as these former pets find abundant food sources among the region’s thriving populations of wild rodents and birds. The shell-shocked cat above was photographed in the evacuated town of Namie by photo-documentarist Yasusuke Ota.
Cats produce large litters and breed frequently, so if Exclusion Zone felines are suffering any ill effects from the area’s radioactive hot spots those losses are being masked by natural fecundity. Though Tashirojima, Japan’s “Island Of Cats”, was not affected by fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the semi-feral cats inhabiting the nearby island have made a strong recovery from the March 11th, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It would be interesting to compare the cats of Fukushima and Tashirojima going forward but no such study has been conducted as yet.