Drastic measures are required for the
protection of bears
Bear extermination in a haphazard way
In these days, black bears have been coming down into villages
and towns, and lots of them are being exterminated. From
1st of April to 4th of October of 2004, the number of people
who are reported to have encountered bears and been hurt
was 73 in 18 prefectures. 179 bears are said to have been
exterminated in Toyama
, Ishikawa and Fukui
. In Japan
, such incidents with
bears have been occurring for several years. Freak of nature,
lack of food, and environmental destruction of bears' habitat
are pointed out to be the reasons for the bears to come
into villages and towns. However, hardly any effort has
been made to investigate what lies behind the behavior of
bears or to take measures to solve the issues. When bears
appear in front of people, we tend to think it happens out
of the blue without really knowing why they do. And such
incidents are treated as emergency circumstances and bears
are exterminated then and there as a quick fix. When a large
number of bears are killed once, the bear population remains
reduced for some time. The problem is forgotten and no measure
is taken or no research is done during that period, and
after a while it starts all over again. If this continues
the bear population will decrease and eventually
become extinct. Shooting of bears have been broadcasted
on national networks this year. Isn't it about time that
we should start working on long-term, thorough measures
including scientific research, educating the residents,
and preventive damage control.
Broad perspective is required in working
on this issue
There are lots of problems in protecting bears. These problems
cannot be solved just by insisting "don't kill them".
We strongly support the promotion of "releasing of
bears deep in the mountain" but that is possible only
on condition that there exists natural environment, in which
bears can survive. If such environment cannot be secured
or recovered, there will be no place for bears to go back
On the other hand, residents can only request that bears
should be exterminated. If there aren't any, measures to
prevent damages from bears.
In this situation, there are no ways that have immediate
effects, therefore, the most effective ways to solve this
problem are to adopt the following measures and promote
Approaches at the local level
Recommendations to local students or volunteers are:
- Research on bears' habitat - Find out if the local environment
can support bears' living, conditions of deforestation,
proportion of planted-forest, harvesting in autumn.
- Research bears' range of activities and dietary habits
- Find out where bears look for food, what they eat, and
why they are drawn to human habitats.
- Damage control measures - Make sure to leave no food
around where bears can get, put away leftover and garbage,
and pick all.
- Education - Be prepared for bears' appearance as a matter
of routine. Hold local meetings for measures with administrative
officials and experts. Hand out leaflets on measures to
local residents. Refer progressive examples of measures
for bear control.
Approaches by researchers
We request that researchers should, in coordination with
the local administration and residents, collect and analyze
relevant data and consider possible measures as follows:
1.Collect individual data on captured bears
- Identify the place, date, time of individual capture.
- Record estimated age, weight, contents of the stomach
and feces, etc. of each bear.
2.Research on bears' behavior and range of activities
- Create a map of points where bears have been captured.
- Include the locations of orchards and fruit-bearing
trees in the above map.
- Become familiarized with the vegetation map, including
that of fruit-bearing plants and trees as well as the condition
of harvest in the area.
- Research the reasons of bear appearances by examining
the above data.
Approaches by administration
1. Draw up measures for preventing damages by bears
and provide support to researchers
- Provide financial support to researchers' efforts described
above (1 & 2)
2. Improve the system of vermin capture
- Stop issuing vermin capture permits throughout the year
with disregard to the actual damages.
- Request the presence of the police when firearms are
required to ensure safety.
- Food should not be put in the cages to attract bears
so as not to have bears become familiar with people feeding
- Specify the methods of treatment after the capture.
- Mandate record-keeping of the above data by those who
- Examine the possibility of releasing captured bears to
forests based on the above data.
3. Establish councils to draw up measures
at the municipal level
- Work to share measures in cooperation with neighboring
prefectures across which bears' habitat extends.
- Establish liaison councils in cities and towns in order
to share information and measures.
What we can do
- Request to the central and local governments to fund
for research on bears and measures for protecting them.
- Participate in and support local measures.
- Donate to NPOs that work for the protection of bears.
- Request the central government and lawmakers to consolidate
the policies concerning the protection of birds and animals
such as conservation of natural forests and measures for
environmental conservation within the realm of agriculture