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Woman Risks Her Life Tending to Abandoned Cattle in Fukushima Radiation Zone

A Japanese animal lover risks her life every single day by venturing into the Fukushima exclusion zone to feed a heard of 11 cows abandoned after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Fukushima in 2011 claimed the lives of over 20,000 people, and forced another 160,000 to leave everything behind and flee to safety. But while people were able to escape the threat of radiation from the damaged reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, animals could not. The area was home to over 3,500 cattle which became known as the “nuclear cows of Fukushima” after being exposed to high levels of radiation. Most of them are dead now, killed by starvation or euthanized by the government, but the few surviving cows now rely on the kindness of humans brave enough to risk their lives to bring them food and water.

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The Last Man in Fukushima – Kindhearted Local Remains in Radioactive Zone to Feed the Animals

When the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant went into meltdown, after the devastating tsunami in 2011, most of the locals fled to overcrowded temporary shelters. So did Naoto Matsumura, but the brave man soon decided return to his home town of Tomioka, just to take care of the many animals left behind! And even though the radiation levels are dangerously high (17 times higher than normal) in this area, Matsumura says he isn’t going anywhere.

He now spends most of his time running a charity along with a few supporters, taking care of animals left behind in the evacuation zone. “I have two cats, one dog, one ostrich, one horse, 31 cows and four wild boars,” Matsumura proudly declared.

He started off by taking into his care the animals that were abandoned in his hometown. He described how most of the pets were still tied up, because locals had believed they would be back home soon. Matsumura took it upon himself to feed the animals every day. “They couldn’t stand the wait, so they’d all gather around barking up a storm as soon as they heard my truck,” he recalled. “Everywhere I went there was always barking. Like, “we’re thirsty” or, “we don’t have any food.”

Naoto-Matsumara

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