Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Japanese fighting for wolves and forests


Izu - He once was the Japanese as a deity, since the beginning of the last century it has become extinct. Now fighting a Japanese for the return of the wolf - and thus for the rescue of endangered forests.
Wölfe in Japan
(C) Proplanta
In Japan's world-famous tourist stronghold Nara they live as a protected national treasures between temples and shrines.

But in the rest of the Far Eastern island kingdom, many Japanese are deer on anything but good to talk. There the animals fall over the vast forests of the country here, eat through the vegetable fields of the farmers and so true year after year more and more damage, last longer than 8 billion yen (58 million euros).

Deer become such a nuisance that the state now blows for mobilization. Over the next ten years, the government aims to halve the population. But there is a lack of hunters.

"The only effective solution would be the wolf," says Naoki Maruyama. The Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Technology at the Agricultural University in Tokyo is Japan's passionate fighter for the reintroduction of the wolf.

The last time that a wolf was sighted in Japan, was in the year 1905 Since then, he is considered to be extinct. Since deer as well as wild boars have no natural enemy more, they multiply quickly. Meanwhile, there are almost three million deer, every year the number climb by about 20 percent, according to Maruyama. Japan could not educate as many hunters as necessary to be the problem sir.

Was there in the 70s in Japan more than 500,000 people with a hunting license, there are today as a result of rapid aging and the rural exodus just yet 100,000. "In the past, people have hunted in addition to agriculture and forestry. But today, the villages are small, the rural population is shrinking and getting older, "says Maruyama.

The government in Tokyo will therefore now also allow young people aged 18 years to set traps. In addition, the launch time will be extended to the night hours. But many have no interest, hunting is one of the so-called three-K jobs: kitanai, kitsui, kiken - dirty, difficult, dangerous.

For Maruyama all reasons to bring the wolf back into the country. But the central government in Tokyo you can see the different. "The issue of reintroduction of wolves has been dealt with in Parliament, but we do not consider" makes Koji Matsuo of the Department of Animal Protection in the Ministry of the Environment clearly. "There are several disadvantages, which are feared, if the animals that no longer live in Japan for 100 years, reintroduces".

Wolves would not only farm animals such as sheep tear, where the question arises, who aufkäme for compensation. But they attacked "perhaps pets and people. " Apart from that there is uncertainty, "how the wolves would help to reduce the number of deer," says the government official.

But Maruyama does not accept all this. He tirelessly travels all over the country to take the people's fears and refers always to the example of Germany. There he learned when visiting the Nature Conservation Nabu saying that wolves avoid people. The concern, wolves would tear sheep, not pull.

"Although this is the only valid argument against the wolf. But in Japan there are now only about 10,000 sheep, half of them in the north in Hokkaido, "he says. One could simply use dogs as in Germany to protect or draw fences around the sheep. But with these arguments he came against the bureaucrats not currently available.

"You want to try anything new," complains the expert. In this case, the wolf in Japan was worshiped in the ancient religion of Shinto as one of many deities centuries ago, just as the mountains. But with the opening of Japan to the West and the beginning of modernization, the former Meiji government, wolves began mercilessly hunt. As part of the State Shinto with the Emperor (Tenno) at the top did not want the ruler that there are as gods besides the Tenno wolves, explains how Maruyama.

And so the wolf was soon eradicated. However, the greater will be the damage caused by deer and wild boar, the more people listen to in the country concerned Maruyamas words. "Meanwhile 40 percent in our polls speak for the reintroduction of" the wolf expert says optimistically. The growing awareness that the vast forests in Japan were in a deplorable condition, help his efforts.

After the war, the forests were cleared for the reconstruction of the country and a large area planted with cedars and cypresses. As a result, 40 percent of forests are now "artificially" says Maruyama.

But the forests are no longer sufficiently maintained. Trees are often too dense and therefore grow too thin. The root system is correspondingly small and keeps the soil firmly no longer sufficient - the consequences are landslides during heavy rains. Another effect of the Cedars-monoculture is that the population of Japan every year under massive "kafunsho" pollen suffers.

But to restore the natural forests, it is necessary to cut down the cedars. "The renewable grasses and shrubs, however, then eaten by the deer, the resulting increase even more," says Maruyama and concludes: "There is simply no other way than the reintroduction of wolves, if you restore the natural forests in this country again wants. "(Reuters)