Their meat is a delicacy in Germany. But the spectre of Chernobyl hangs over the dinner plate.
More and more wild boars are being tested positive for radioactivity, as a direct result of the nuclear meltdown nearly a quarter of a century ago.
It is all down to their diet. The animals often feed on mushrooms and truffles, which are prone to storing the radioactivity that hit areas like Bavaria.
“It depends on the year,” said professional hunter and meat tester Juergen Hoermann. “When we have a year with a lot of mushrooms, the contamination is relatively high. And when we have a year with a lot of beech nuts and acorns, we have relatively low contamination.”
Hoermann says the amount of boar’s meat that has to be thrown out varies from 20 to 80 per cent each year.
Amid a rise in the sheer number of wild boars in Germany, more are being shot and eaten. Hence efforts to prevent a radioactive animal slipping through the net and contaminating the human food chain.