Will the Revised Wildlife Protection and
Proper Hunting Act Promote Better Nuisance Wildlife Control?
Nouisance Wildlife Control Measures
ALIVE has recently been deluged with a growing number of letters
voicing considerable concern over what is perceived as a far
too aggressive approach to nuisance wildlife control measures.
Wild boar, deer and raccoons are the main targets of culling
and they are commonly caught in traps set by the owners of land
that is damaged by the animals. Landowners are allowed to set
traps anywhere on their land without the need to obtain a hunting
license.The use of traps and hunting are regulated under the
Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Act and the Ministry
of Environment has jurisdiction over this act. The Ministry
has set out a basic guideline for measures relating to the act.
The basic guideline is scheduled to be revised every 5 years,
and prefectural and city governments will decide their project
plans in line with the revisions.
On March 2011, public comments on the present revision of the
basic guideline were solicited. ALIVE responded by submitting
a number of opinions but most of them were not included in the
Ban on Keeping Wild Birds as Pets
The only achievement stemming from the present
revision is that people are now prohibited from keeping wild birds
as pet animals.
Nobody Overlooks Traps
Leg-hold traps are banned for hunting purposes.
However, their use is permitted for wildlife nuisance control
(licensed hunting). For this reason, members of the general public
are still allowed to purchase leg-hold traps on the internet or
mail magazine shops.
The Government is gradually deregulating the restrictions
placed on the use of traps in order to protect crops and farmers
from wild animals. People without a hunting license can still
use a trap, provided that there is someone who can instruct them
on how to use and set it. Landowners without a license also can
set traps on their own land. The trap regulations make exceptions
in the above cases.
It is true that wild animals are causing an increasing amount
of crop damage. However, before resorting to capturing and culling
them, it is necessary to think of other solutions. Individual
farmers and growers may be able to come up with original methods
for protecting their own land or crops. Electric fences are certainly
expensive, but is it acceptable to kill wild animals merely because
this is the most cost effective solution?
The Ministry of Environment has jurisdiction over
the Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Act, which was originally
enacted as a hunting law. This law was originally intended to
control the hunting and culling wild animals. However, drawing
up wildlife protection plans always involves experts who are knowledgeable
about and experienced with wildlife and ecosystems. These experts
should be able to come up with measures for protecting crops from
wildlife damage, and the law should specify which measures can
or should be taken. The inclusion of such measures in the Wildlife
Protection and Proper Hunting Act would allow the Government,
local administration offices and the local farmers to employ such
measures more effectively. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries is not responsible for wildlife management, however
for some reason this ministry has budget of 100 billion yen for
nuisance wildlife control measures.
ALIVE believes there should a new law, which would
allow both measures to protect and control of wildlife and measures
to prevent crop damage to be implemented cooperatively. The current
law cannot respond to the changing times and is also a reflection
of the poor animal control system that stems from Japan’s
vertically segmented administrative system. A consequence of this
system is that countless animals are killed without any effort
being made toward their protection.