In 2011, Japan was hit with a terrifying disaster: an earthquake and tsunami. It was one of the most devastating natural disasters of our lifetime. A Nuclear Power Plant – Fukushima Daiichi – was hit especially hard and resulted in the evacuation of a 12.5-mile radius around the plant. Many people were injured and thousands have suffered long-term health effects from the disaster. However, there’s another endangered population that has been largely overlooked – the animals left behind in the 12.5-mile exclusion zone.
There is, however, one man who has taken on the responsibility of saving those animals. His name is Naoto Matsumura. At age 55, the former construction worker actually lives in the radioactive exclusion zone so that he can take care of those animals that were lucky enough to survive. The community knows him as “Guardian of Fukushima’s Animals” because of the work that he’s done. Scrolling down, you can read his story and view his work with the animals of Fukushima.
Naoto Matsumura was one of many to flee Fukushima during the disaster of 2011
But he’s the only human that has returned to live in Fukushima’s exclusion zone since then
Although he returned just for his animals, he quickly realized that there were many more in need as well
Matsumura, who is 55 years old, knows that the radiation is harmful, but he “refuses to worry about it”
“They also told me that I wouldn’t get sick for 30 or 40 years. I’ll most likely be dead by then anyway, so I couldn’t care less”
Upon his return, Matsumura discovered that thousands of cows had died locked in barns
He freed many other animals that were left chained up by their evacuated owners
Many of these animals now depend on him for food
Matsumura continues to help despite the government’s demands for him to leave
Having started in 2011, he is still going strong, years later
He depends completely on donations from supporters to work with and feed the animals
His supporters have dubbed him the “Guardian of Fukushima’s Animals”
Despite the hard work, Matsumura maintains his sense of humor, as you can see below