Wild monkeys to help track radiation

Aug. 16, 2012 at 10:06 AM   |   Comments

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FUKUSHIMA, Japan, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A professor plans to attach radiation-measuring devices to wild monkeys to map forests contaminated by the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster.

Fukushima University professor Takayuki Takahashi says Fukushima Prefecture is covered by 70 percent forests, the radiation levels of which are still not clear.

"Investigating the contamination of forests is difficult ... For the sake of a detailed investigation, we'll have wild monkeys help us out," Takahashi told The Mainichi Shimbun.

A wildlife protection center will aid in the capture of monkeys in highly contaminated areas such as Iitate or Namie. Devices to measure radiation with GPS capability will be fixed to their necks and then they will be released into the wild. After a month of recording radiation levels, the devices will be brought back for analysis.

"The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports Science and Technology is conducting radiation monitoring with aircraft, but it is not getting detailed radiation amounts, so an early investigation is necessary," said Takahashi. "If all goes well with the monkeys, I would also like to use wild boars or dogs."

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