Three proposals of the anti-beast harm measure for deer and wild boar
Animal environmental harm is a serious problem, causing just over 200 billion yen in agricultural and forestal damage to date. If current trends continue, expected damage could top more than 10 billion yen annually. Particularly, deer and wild boar account for over 50 percent of the damage. Also, traffic accidents involving deer and wild boar are on the rise. Injury to people by wildlife such as wild boars and bears are frequent results of these automobile accidents. Particularly alarming is the damage caused by deer, not only in terms of agriculture and forestry, but natural ecosystem damage is increasing annually in different parts of the country. This includes destruction of vegetation, destroyed sediment, and wildlife reduction or extinction. Recently, the damage has crossed into interior mountain areas. So far, local governments have yet to present a plan to control deer overpopulation. If careful control of the deer population doesn’t improve, the damage will continue.
In the local community, aging residents who actively engage in hunting will certainly substantially decrease by 2020 with few young residents continuing the hunting tradition. Deer and wild boar population control by hunting will certainly reach a standstill. Without population control, the voracious appetite of deer for planet life will be a prime factor in the destruction of forestland, shifting to a wide area that could lead to frequent sediment-related disasters. To prevent these future situations, we propose the following three emergency measures.
1. For deep mountain areas: Extinct species/wolf reintroduction
The primary reason why middle and large size mammals including deer and wild boar are overpopulated is due to the extinction of wolves during the Meiji era. The reintroduction of wolves into their once natural habitat is completely akin to the circumstances that brought about the reintroduction of storks and the Japanese crested ibis. In the case of the Japanese mainland, Shikoku Island and Kyushu Island, reintroducing wolves from a habitat in China would be appropriate. For the Hokkaido region, reintroducing wolves from the habitat of the Primorskij district, Russia, would be appropriate. The research of resurgent wolf populations in the US and Europe has proven effective in controlling deer and wild boar densities, in addition to ecosystem restoration, and increased biodiversity.
Furthermore, it should be added that there is very little chance for harmful interaction between wolf and the human population as proven by various research groups in European countries.
One common proposal for dealing with overpopulation has been the utilization of exclusive fences. In deep mountain areas, it is not only difficult to build exclusive fences, but also the construction of these barriers destroys the natural environment.
For these areas, the reintroduction of a wolf population would provide a natural method of population control via the food chain.
2. Full-time employment system of hunters by the local governments
The second cause of increased animal harm is the fact that hunters have been filling the predatory role of wolves within ecosystems for the last 100 years since the extinction of wolves in the Meiji era. Now, these hunters are fast becoming extinct as well. Hunter intervention is required. Originally, we have depended on recreation and volunteer hunters to control animal overpopulation. Instead of these types of hunters, local governments need to employee full-time hunters. However, there are financial limits to having full-time hunters. They should supervise only arable land, forestry areas and residential areas, such as human activity zones. The animal control system should be implemented as such: wolves in deep mountain areas; hunters in human populated areas.
3. The construction of a wide-area fence (wall) for deer and wild boars to prevent their intrusion.
Resurrection of the wolf population in combination with the limited number of full-time hunters an area can provide can hardly manage to prevent all damage by animal intrusion. Therefore, construction of fences our rounding large human populated areas that prevents intrusion of harmful animals is required.