Wild boars still roam the forests of Germany, where they are hunted for their meat, which is sold as a delicacy.
But in recent tests by the state government of Saxony, more than one in three boars were found to give off such high levels of radiation that they are unfit for human consumption.
Outside the hunting community, wild boar are seen as a menace by much of Germany society. Autobahns have to be closed when boar wander onto them, they sometimes enter towns and, in a famous case in 2010, a pack attacked a man in a wheelchair in Berlin.
But radioactive wild boars stir even darker fears.
They are believed to be a legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, when a reactor at a nuclear power plant in then Soviet-ruled Ukraine exploded, releasing a massive quantity of radioactive particles into the atmosphere.
Even though Saxony lies some 700 miles from Chernobyl, wind and rain carried the radioactivity across western Europe, and soil contamination was found even further away, in France.
Wild boar are thought to be particularly affected because they root through the soil for food, and feed on mushrooms and underground truffles that store radiation. Many mushrooms from the affected areas are also believed to be unfit for human consumption.
Since 2012, it has been compulsory for hunters to have wild boar they kill in Saxony tested for radiation. Carcasses that exceed the safe limit of 600 becquerels per kg have to be destroyed.
In a single year, 297 out of 752 boar tested in Saxony have been over the limit, and there have been cases in Germany of boar testing dozens of times over the limit.
The radioactivity causes economic problems as well. Many hunters sell the boar as game, and across Germany hundreds of thousands of euros are paid out each year out in government compensation to hunters whose kills have to be destroyed.
“It doesn’t cover the loss from game sales, but at least it covers the cost of disposal,” Steffen Richter, the head of the Saxon State Hunters Association, told Bild newspaper.
Germany’s radioactive boar problem is not expected to go away any time soon. With the levels of contamination still showing in tests, experts predict it could be around for another 50 years.