Japan Wolf Association: JWA


2013 年 10 月 28 日 by sasaki

Carnivore Coexistence Lab

We envision a balance between human needs and carnivore conservation worldwide.

To attain this vision, we create knowledge about human-carnivore coexistence through interdisciplinary research around the world.

We apply that knowledge to solve current conservation problems.

We share our findings with audiences worldwide.


Book Review

2013 年 10 月 28 日 by sasaki

Waiting for Wolves in Japan: an Anthropological Study of People-Wildlife Relations.

Knight, John. 2003. Oxford University Press.



By Adrian Treves, PhD, University of  Wisconsin

(Book review: Conservation Biology Volume 18, No. 4, August 2004 )

** Human and Ecological Dimensions of Conservation Controversy **

51YA3NDZPNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Since 1945 Japan has seen radical transformations of its mountain ecosystems and rural human populations. In Waiting for Wolves in Japan, John Knight provides a richly detailed description of the diverse human- wildlife interactions within the forest- agriculture ecosystems of rural Japan. He recounts how a dramatic decline in rural populations via urbanization was coincident with the spread of smallholder timber plantations that replaced fruiting trees with ever- green cypress and pines. Depopulation caused labor shortages, so farms and forestry plantations were left un- guarded or even abandoned. As a result, mammals in the Japanese mountains have increasingly come into conflict with the remaining farmers, villagers, and foresters. From dam- aged plantations and fields to threats to human safety, it seems that every aspect of life in Japanese mountain villages is somehow affected by the abundant, problematic wildlife. Against this backdrop, Knight re-counts the myriad interactions of humans and wild animals, the varied views and responses to the conflicts that result, and the ensuing sociopolitical discord between people. Nevertheless, this book is more than a story of human-wildlife conflict be- cause it provides tremendous detail about the lives and habits of hunters, farmers, foresters, and animal-lovers of many sorts, as well as valuable in- sights into the behavior of Japanese wild pigs, deer, serow, macaques, and bears. For this reason, Knight’s book will interest those studying the human dimensions of biodiversity conservation, community natural resource management, and the behavior and conservation of large mammals in human-dominated landscapes.

Waiting for Wolves contains fewer insights into wolves—surprising given the title. After multiple chapters that make virtually no reference to wolves, one almost forgets that Knight is setting the stage for the remarkable and recent campaign to build political support for wolf reintroduction to Japan. Japanese wolves were extirpated in the first decade of the twentieth century. The proposed reintroduction of wolves to Japan illustrates the stunning complexity of some twenty-first century restoration efforts that must overcome challenges posed by technology, wildlife biology, ecology, and politics. The intervening chapters on other wildlife and the rural villages of Japan are essential to the nuanced picture Knight presents of the wolf reintroduction proposed by a nongovernmental environmental action group, the Japanese Wolf Association ( JWA). Knight attempts to organize all this complexity for us and provide the background structure of human beliefs, livelihoods, and historical interactions with wildlife in an entertaining and illuminating fashion. He succeeds admirably in achieving most of these objectives, but the book will not satisfy many in his intended audience.

Knight effectively uses his training in sociocultural anthropology to canvas opinions across a wide range of actors in rural Japan, but the reader is given too little quantitative insight. Knight’s research would be strengthened by analysis of the demographic variation or spatial variation in the diverse—sometimes contradictory— opinions held by people in similar walks of life. Although one person and one book cannot meet all expectations, the shortage of spatially explicit, quantitative analysis may disappoint some conservation biologists and the more quantitatively oriented practitioners in the social sciences. More important in my mind, the anthropological approach frustrates conservation action because the reader is left rudderless to determine what actions—whether outreach, policy, or protection—would be effective or win public support. Anecdote, no matter how thoroughly documented, provides a scant basis on which to predict outcomes or guide action. Knight also reduces the readability of his book by littering the text with hundreds of Japanese words—sometimes used several lines after their first definition. Although I applaud the scholarly aspect of this, it will turn away part of his audience who seek concise insights. In the last chapter, Knight takes a risk by criticizing JWA’s proposed restoration of wolves on the grounds that it is unclear whether wolves exert compensatory or regulatory mortality on their prey. This criticism ignores the literature on the indirect effects of predators, namely how they change the behavior of surviving prey animals in addition to removing some prey. The indirect effects and wider ecosystem shifts that may follow from predator reintroduction should not be ignored, particularly the shifts in prey movements and the enriched scavenging niche such as occurred in the Yellowstone ecosystem following gray wolf reintroduction (Berger et al. 2001; Smith et al. 2003). Hence, JWA’s conjectures— that reintroduced wolves can help re- store pre–Meiji era Japanese nature and may induce their prey to avoid open habitat such as farms—may be plausible regardless of whether wolves exert compensatory mortality or limit their prey.

John Knight has attempted some- thing that few sociocultural anthropologists would brave, describing simultaneously the human and ecological dimensions of a modern conservation controversy. He has made a real contribution to conservation science by broadening our perspectives on the human beliefs and behaviors that everywhere play a major part in the success or failure of conservation programs. He succeeds in my view because he does not digress into the narcissistic polemics of deconstructionists and never loses sight of his two sets of subjects—the wildlife and the humans with interests in the Japanese forest-agriculture ecotone. This book is well worth reading for any conservation practitioner working with local communities on issues relating to forest restoration, large-carnivore reintroduction, agriculture and livestock production in wildlife areas, or the role of hunting in wildlife management. It should also interest theoreticians that consider the manifold ways humans shape and are shaped by their natural environment. The book will not satisfy landscape ecologists, sociologists, or population ecologists who seek more quantitative and spatially explicit analyses of human-wildlife interactions, although the book may whet their appetite for more information on Japan’s intriguing rural agroecosystems.


Washington Wrestles With Managing Incoming Wolves

2013 年 3 月 13 日 by sasaki

The North American gray wolf has made a flourishing comeback in the U.S. Midwestern states. Moving into the periphery states like Washington and Oregon however, has resulted in a struggle of opinions, politics, and environmental concerns. Photo by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

By Jordie Ricigliano, March 6, 2013


Saving endangered wolves from extinction in the wild is one thing; managing wolf reintroduction into the wild is quite another.  In Washington State (USA), a conundrum is brewing between animal activists and conservative property owners over just what to do with the wolves entering the state along its eastern and northern borders.


Wolves were common throughout Washington until the 19th century when trapping, poisoning, and hunting practices became popular. Ranching and farming by European-American settlers catalyzed negative opinions of the wild canids and their occasional tastes for livestock meat. By the 1930s, wolves were no longer considered a breeding species in the state. Despite the loss, Washington took no legal measures to reintroduce wolves into wilderness areas.


Reports of wolves entering into the state on their own via porous borders with Idaho and Canada cropped up in 2005; most involved sightings of single animals. The first fully recognized pack was confirmed in July 2008 in the northeastern corner of the state in the Okanogan and Chelan counties. This year, there are eight confirmed and four suspected wolf packs, numbering between 51 and 100 animals. All roam the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains where residents in respective regions have complained that they bear the burden of the state’s unofficial wolf recovery efforts.


The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is officially listed as endangered in Washington under state law and protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the western two-thirds of the state (meaning, it is illegal to kill, harm or harass them). Wolves in the eastern third of the state, where they are most common, were removed from federal protection in 2011. While no reintroduction measures have been developed, state and federal wildlife authorities monitor the activity of resident wolves to learn more about their use of habitat and to reduce potential conflicts with humans.Gray wolf_Washington_map


In January 2013, state representative Kretz (R-Wauconda) proposed to divert a portion of the booming wolf population from the east to the west. Lamenting that “the entire citizenship of the state has not been fully able to enjoy the re-establishment of this majestic species,” Kretz put on the legislation table a tongue-in-cheek bill that would move an undetermined number of wolves across the Cascade Mountains to the Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Islands.


“The Legislature finds that the rich habitat created by the land stewardship of Washington’s private landowners has created circumstances that allow the state to enjoy an expanding gray wolf population,” Kretz wrote. “Unfortunately, however, this bounty has been geographically limited to areas in eastern Washington and the entire citizenship of the state has not been fully able to enjoy the reestablishment of this majestic species.”


The ‘enjoyment’ Kretz mentions refers implicitly to the umbrage of managing wolves in a farming-dense region, where livestock tempt hungry canids just as McDonald’s entices children with its golden arches. Not surprisingly, as the wolf population rose in Washington, so did the death toll of domesticated animals. During 2012, wolves killed nine cows and sheep and wounded 15 more. One Stevens County ranch bore the brunt of the impact, losing six cows and seeing 10 more injured. Kretz’s bill urges the western counties to share the burden, as well as the majesty, of Washington wolves.


The bill has not gotten a hearing in the Democrat-led House, but it has received a litany of criticism. “It’s a stupid bill, and it’s a waste of our resources,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker a democrat representative from Orcas Island.


The proposal arises during an already tense period of civil debate in which various political parties wrestle with how to handle wolves that have recolonized the state faster than expected. John Smith (R-Colville) said the growing number of wolves shows that recovery is exceeding expectations. “We must put a plan in place now for wolf population management as recovery targets are reached,” Smith said.


Eastern Washington legislators, who tend to wave a flag of conservatism, have introduced a slew of bills that would give ranchers and local counties more leeway to deal with gray wolves on their own. Senate Bill 5187 and House Bill 1191 would allow livestock owners to shoot and kill wolves that threaten their livestock without first obtaining a permit from the state.


Fiercely opposing such measures, liberal wolf activists mostly from the western half of the state argue that citizen freedoms to shoot and control wolf numbers would only hurt the state’s wolf recovery efforts and contradict years of efforts that have attempted to pull together an official wolf plan.


One of the wolf packs in contestation is the Wedge pack in northeastern Washington. Last summer, the Department of Fish and Wildlife killed most members of that pack to end a series of attacks on an area rancher’s cattle that left at least six calves dead and 10 other animals injured. The decision further highlighted the public’s bipartite sentiments towards wild canids, arousing either criticism or approval depending on who was speaking.


Just a month before the Wedge Pack culling, the Lookout Pack—Washington’s first recognized pack of wolves—appeared in a 90 minute BBC documentary sponsored by the Discovery Channel. The program featured the search for the wolves as well as some of harsh attitudes local landowners hold toward them. Parts of the program even showed how community members in the Methow Valley illegally poached a number of wolves.


For now, wolves are geographically clustered into one corner of the state, while public attitudes towards them are widespread and varied. Kretz’s bill is just one of a handful of proposals introduced in the last few months that takes a stab at determining just how wolves and humans can best co-exist.


“Wolves aren’t angels or devils,” said Mitch Friedman, executive director of Bellingham-based Conservation Northwest, at a Senate Natural Resources Committee hearing on the bills. “They can respond to management techniques.”


Friedman only expounds part of the concern. As Washington continues to become the stomping grounds for wild canids, the question most pressing is not how the wolves respond to management techniques, but rather, how Washingtonians will adapt to the change.




Northern Inner Mongolian Wolves

2013 年 1 月 3 日 by sasaki

(By Naoki Maruyama)

Northern Inner Mongolian Wolves are Protected even in Severe Winter!
Wolf information from the northern Inner Mongolia:
Dr. Rinho Chang sent information on the status of wolves in the Hulunbeir grassland,
northern Inner Mongolia. This winter is colder than the usual, -25-30℃ every night and day in the air temperature. It looks like hard in condition also for wolves to find wild preys such as roe deer and Mongolian gazelle, so that they apt to depredate sheep. However, nomadic people are strictly prohibited to kill the nuisance animals now, because the wolf is designated as the national second-ranked protected animal species. Therefore, the grassland people should make various devices of guarding their livestock without killing from the depredation.

The wolf pack bronz statue of Hurunbeir Hotel, northern Inner Mongolia.

The wolf pack bronz statue of Hurunbeir Hotel, northern Inner Mongolia.


Review of UK’s wolf reintroduction problem

2012 年 12 月 23 日 by sasaki

(By Daniel Lee)


gray_wolfHistorically, wolves had the largest natural distribution of any non-human mammalspecies. However, it cannot lay claim to this record as much of their former range has beenlost due to increasing pressure from humankind.

The British Isles, like Japan, was once home to wolves. Whereas the last wolf in Japan was killed in the early 20th century, in Ireland and Scotland it was last hunted to extinction in the 17th to 18th century. In Wales and England, wolves were deemed extinct by the 13th and 16th century respectively.

Wolves were severely persecuted in the British Isles due to a few reasons. Following Abrahamic religious traditions, the medieval mind took literally the idea that man had dominion over nature which can be exploited as a resource for humankind. Animals could thus be used for food, labour or sport. Unfortunately, among all other animals the
wolf has often been portrayed negatively. Wolves were depicted as monstrous rapacious beasts closely associated with witchcraft and the devil and a serious threat to livestock and livelihoods. Hence, they were considered evil, useless, and extremely dangerous and therefore ought to be exterminated for the betterment of all.

However, spurred by the success of wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park, like Japan, the idea that wolves may once again roam the land in the United Kingdom has gained a foothold. Though still haunted by negative stereotypes, the wolf in recent years has been cast in a more positive light as more has been learnt about them.

The awareness of their plight from centuries of discrimination and their symbolic representation of the wild has captured the empathy and imagination of many. In addition, scientific understanding has brought an increasing awareness of the marvels of their social structure, the very low risk wolves’ presents to people and even to most livestock, the extent of its role in shaping ecosystems, allowing other species to flourish by regulating herbivore populations – has changed or altered attitudes and perceptions to this once near-universally maligned species.
In the United Kingdom, this ‘rewilding’ effort is in essence a broader ecological restoration project that considers the potential of other formerly native species of British flora and fauna for reintroduction which is strongly supported by the EU convention. As such, the reintroduction of large mammalian species native to the isles such as the elk, lynx, wolves and bear are being discussed.grey-wolf-pups

But as expected, the topic of wolf reintroduction never fails to stir up deep rooted emotions amongst those who would be directly involved and affected by their reintroduction.


Decline of Gray Woles in Northern Mongolia

2012 年 12 月 7 日 by sasaki

(By Naoki Maruyama)

This report is on an ecological situation of Hulunbeir grassland and the
Daxingangling mountains, Inner Mongolia in the later half of the 1990s. This
area with wolves, comparatively near to Japan, attracted a strong concern of
the Japan Wolf Association with the plan of “restoration wolves into Japan”.
Wolves in this area is regarded to be important for a mother population which
supplies the individuals for reintroduction into Japan. The grasslands and
mountains have been overexploited mainly by heavily stocking and stockmen
tended to hate wolves and to easily kill them. As well the Mongolian gazelles
and deer like roe deer and red deer of main wolves’ prey were illegally
harvested for selling in markets. Thus, the principal  predator-prey system of
the grassland were almost destroyed. However, fortunately, in 1998 a China’s
wildlife policy was drastically changed to protection, since then wolves with their
prey wildlife became protected and are increasing in number and distribution.
However, unfortunate, unfavorable incident has occurred and increased;
because wolves have been increasing depredation of livestock like sheep and
cattle. This has caused stockmen’s hate against wolves. This is new problem of
conservation on the predator-prey system in this area.

The full text of the report is here:  mongolian_wolves_r


Nature Conservation official: “ wolves are harmful to Japan”

2012 年 11 月 5 日 by sasaki

The Yamanashi Nichinichi (Daily) Newspaper reported on October 12th, 2012 a statement by Ministry of Environment official, Hitoshi Nakamura of the Southern Alps National Park region, that sounded as if attitudes in the Ministry have not changed since the 19th century when Japanese feudal government that exterminated wolves as savage varmints.


“The reintroduction of the wolves can threaten the lives of people and livestock and disrupt the current ecosystem balance.”


Mr. Nakamura’s ignorant comment indicates he has the “Little Red Riding-hood” syndrome, and shows no progress has been in the Ministry of Environment’s understanding about the habit of wolves and their importance in Japan’s ecosystem.


On April, 2012 the Japan Wolf Association (JWA) submitted a opinion to the Minister of Environment in Tokyo with 94,500 signatures collected from all over Japan demanding wolves be reintroduce into Japan. At the time, the person in charge of the Ministry responded, “we will study about wolves, then (maybe do something).”

94,500 signatures were submitted to the Minister of Environment, and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.


We, the JWA, have responded by contacting Mr. Nakamura directly and asking him to, “Show us the proof on what ecosystems you are talking about.” He explained that his mention on wolves was not official, but personal, and a request has since been made for an official comment from the Environment Ministry. We in the meantime will wait for a response, but do not expect one anytime soon knowing that the ministry takes forever to finish their homework.


At this moment, it is prominent that forest ecosystems in Japan are progressively becoming more devastated and the mountain terrain like the South Alps National Park is disappearing from an overabundant deer population. Countless damages to agriculture and forestry businesses can also be seen due to the eruption in numbers of wild boars and monkeys too.


We would like to ask the Environment Ministry how to control the deer population problem and save the ecosystem without restoring wolves. What kind of effective strategy is there besides a wolf reintroduction?


Mr. Nakamura gave the “Conservation of Nature” a bad name. The Officials at the Ministry of Environment have to stop sharing irresponsible opinions and should start studying about wolves’ habits, ecology and ecosystems.


(Oct. 29th 2012 Original article by Naoki Maruyama, translated by Mariko Sasaki)

Destructive feeding of deer, 2012

2002 Southern Alps, Mt. Kushigata (10 years ago)

2012 Southern Alps, Mt. Kushigata (Present)


Japan Police department has been infected with “Little Red Riding-hood” virus!!

2012 年 10 月 18 日 by sasaki

JWA presented a critical opinion to the National Police Agency’s Commissioner General, Yutaka Katagiri on 26th of September 2012.


All over Japan, puppet plays for the education purpose of kindergarten children are performed by the juvenile section of Japan police agency.


The police officers of the juvenile station and their volunteers make the puppet stories full of loaded lessons with the topics of “shoplifting” or “kidnapping”, in order to

prevent those crimes. Scary looking wolves are always made to appear in their plays as criminals as they seduce a shoplifter or kidnap a child. It doesn’t work at all even if they try to imprint a criminal image that looks so scary in the minds of children.


As you know, the real kidnappers do not look scary, they are ones who put on a gentle mask and approach children with gentle persuasions and come ons.


On the other hand, the story, “Little Red Riding Hood,” according to the respondents of ‘My Navigator News’ questionnaire survey, ranked in the fourth place in the category of “Your favorite children’s story that never forgotten.” (The investigation period: 2012/5/28 – 2012/5/31; approx. 1,000 respondents.)


Wolves are the keystone species that sit at the top of a healthy ecosystem’s food chain.

Because the scary image of a wolf coming out from “Little Red Riding Hood” is used to obstruct wolf reintroduction to Japan, we, the Japan Wolf Association works hard to enlighten people of the real habits of wolves.


The puppet plays for the children done by the National Police Agency are performed all over Japan and could definitely plant the wrong image of wolves in the minds of young children. An education that personifies a wild animal in this way, produces a prejudice for life that twists proper scientific understanding from what global environment and biological diversity are.


(Mariko Sasaki :Oct. 18th, 2012)


Follow-up story about the wolves in Portugal.

2012 年 10 月 5 日 by sasaki


Mongolian wolvevs are in danger of eradication!!

2012 年 9 月 24 日 by sasaki

Mongolian NGO, Nomadic Nature Conservation gave us this information about their wolf situation.


Nomadic Nature Conservation



Global status: Least Concern
Regional status: Near Threatened

Rational for assessment:
In 1980 the Mongolian population was estimated at 30.000 individuals by the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. More recent estimates vary greatly, with the most recent figures indicating that there may be fewer than 10.000 individuals remaining in Mongolia (Mech and Boitani, 2004). However, there is great uncertainly associate with these estimates and more extensive surveys are needed to gain insight into the current population size. No population studies have ever been conducted to determine wolf population densities, distribution, pack size, or range.
The number of gray wolf in Mongolia is declining, but the rate of decline is difficult to determine. Main causes of wolf decline are exploitation, illegal hunting and trade, forest and steppe fire etc.
It is therefore listed as Near Threatened, but further surveys may reveal that it should be listed as Vulnerable or even Endangered under Criterion.
Legal Status: Listed   CITES Appendix II, with an export quota of 150 skins and skulls in 2005 (UNEP-WCMC, 2006). There are no laws to protect this species from households or industrial hunting, no closed seasons and no quota limits. Approximately 13% of the species range occurs within protected areas, however, wolf protection within protected areas is rarely enforced, and exceptions are made in some areas to protect rare wildlife and livestock. Since, 2007 wolf hunting and catching are prohibited in Eastern Steppe region of Mongolia.


page top