In what is thought to be a result of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant meltdown, two minke whales that had traces of radiation were caught by Japanese whalers. The animals were discovered in waters on the country's northern coast, off the island of Hokkaido, according to reports.
The whales were found to have traces of radioactive cesium. According to the Associated Press, the mammals had cesium readings of 31 and 24.3 Becquerels per kilogram, respectively, about one-twentieth of the legal limit.
The levels are far below the limit, and the meat from the catch is safe for consumption, Japanese Fisheries Agency official Kosei Takekoshi told the AP.
They are the first whales to be discovered with traces of radioactive elements. The two animals were part of a 17-whale catch in the Pacific Ocean.
Ealier this week, a rabbit was born without ears in the town of Namie, Japan, close to the exclusion zone that been established around the damaged plant. The deformity is being linked to radiation from the March 11 tsunami and earthquake damaged the Fukushima cooling tanks.