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Activity report by ALIVE concerning
"the bear protection project"

ALIVE News 2002

Fusako Nogami (ALIVE) 23d November 2002

A measurement for the protecion of bears in Japan

The number of wild bears in Japan is as follows; 8000 Japanese Black Bears in Honshu and 2000 Brown Bears in Hokkaido. However, from 15% to 20% of these bears are killed every year by hunting for the commercial use of gall bladder and pest hunting for damage control.

In Japan, about 1500 bears are kept in captivity and 1000 of these are kept in bear farms.

Bear farms are designed for the commercial use of cubs that are left alone after their mothers are killed by the spring hunt, which is also called "pest hunting". Almost all of the facilities are managed in poor conditions without considering the ecology and the habits of bears.

The protection of bears in Japan should be done with the combination of the 3 points below:

1. The protection and management of wild individual groups

Conservation of their habitat(including investigation of inhabitants conditions, plan of recovery of natural forest)

Control of poaching and illegal capture (supervision of hunting and pest hunting, preparedness of activitiy by protection members for birds and animals)

Avoidance of mix capture (mistaken capture)(develpment of escapable wired trap ,box type traps)

Development of measurement for damage control and the promotion of it (understanding toward bears 'habitat, removal of conditions that cause bears to come to people's area , banishment etc)

2.The ban of commercial use of captured individual bears.

Ban of the commercial use of hunted individuals (the banning of profit for licensed hunters).

Ban of commercial use of hunted individual bears (Itis impossibe to distinguish from bears poached or captured illegaly.)

Ban of ciculation and sales of all gall bladders (Internationaly the trade is being banned,however national trade is not illegal.)

3.Promotion of the welfare of Captivity conditions.

The closure of bear farms that are in poor condition.

To decrease the number of bears in captivity and to enlarge the space of bear enclosures. Also to divide female and male bears, provide birth control etc.

Improvement of their environment (environment enrichment)

Protection of orphans and facilitate their return to the wild. Also development of ways for rehabilitation and promotion thereof is needed.

A project for protection of bears

In 2001, on November 16th, we established "a project for protection of bears "in a network of We have worked for the protection of bears for 1 year. However,this network is a loose association of individual groups. Therefore ALIVE and JWCS are the main groups that have worked against the problems of bears.

?A situation of activities that we have planned for this year?

1.We have aimed to inform people of the real situation of bear protection issues both nationally and internationally

In 2001, on December 1st,we held a symposium with the cooperation of WSPA. At this symposium, many people from many areas who work for the protection of bears attended as pannelers. They discussed the crisis of wild bears, the bear bile industry, bear farms, the welfare of bears in captivity and laws etc. and proposed how to resolve these problems.

In 2001, December, ALIVE made and delivered leaflets that makes an appeal concerning the crisis of extinction of bears and the poor condition of bear farms.

In January of 2002, we promoted a campaign by making a set with 6 post cards that has the addresses of the authorities and bear farms.

In June of 2002 along with the opening of the World Cup in both Japan and Korea, in cooperation with WSPA we promoted a campaign by sending post cards that make an appeal for the improvement or closure of bear farms.

In November of 2002, at a symposium by net work, we appealed of the nessecity of a revision of law concerning hunting and pest hunting.

2.We have aimed to place specific bird and animal protection and management plan into the 9th birds and animals protection working plan, made by local authorities in order to help the recovery bear local groups.

In January of 2002, we handed an opinion letter to authorities in Nagano for a plan of protection and management of Japanese Black Bears in that prefecture

In March of 2002, we handed an opinion letter on the plan by Akita prefecture concerning their protection and management of Japanese Black Bears in that prefecture, where they capture and kill bears the most in Japan.

3.We have aimed to voice our opinions for making an important issue for protection of bears put into the national strategy of biodiversity.

In December of 2001, at a symposium by NGO aiming for the national strategy of biodiversity we gave some opinions as follows, 1.mesurement for protection of large mammal species, zoos should keep 3.control against keeping wild animals.

In April of 2002,we handed an opinion letter as a public comment for the national strategy of biodiversity.

4.We have aimed to do lobbying activities to put an important issue for protection of bears into a revision of birds and animals protection law at ordinary session of the Diet in 2002 (from January to June)

From April to June in 2002, we did lobbying activities at the House of Councilors and the House of Representatives for a revision of the law. Moreover we stated our opinions as witnesses.

? Mr Sakamoto of JWCS gave an opinion concerning the commmercial trade of bear bile as a witness at the House of Councilors and Ms.Nogami gave an opinion concerning traps while showing the photo pictures of pest hunting of bears.

The contents that were questioned and answered are as follows;

1.prohibition of hunting bears
2.prohibition of pest hunting
3.control of traps (especially mistaken capture,evasion of excess capture)
4.abandonment of individuals that were captured and killed
5.prohibition of circulation of bear gall bladder etc. introduction of a system of an appeal for public contribution of birds and animal protection members.

5.We have aimed to promote a campaign towards the protection of bears targeting CITES meeting in Chile that was held in November of 2002.

?JWCS and WSPA have investigated the real situation of the commercial use of bear gall bladder in Asia countries including Japan and promoted a joint campaign.

6.We have aimed to submit our opinion for a revision of standards for the exhibition of animals based on the revised animal protection law.

In March of 2002, we made a basic draft of a legislation of animal protection in Chiba prefecture in order to establish it. Moreover, we had a symposium in Chiba.

In October of 2002 we submitted our opinion to Aomori prefecture concerning the establishment of a legislation of animal protection.The contents of our opinion are strengthening of control over dangerous animals in a legislation, strengthening of control over animal dealers etc.

7.We have aimed to submit opinions concerning alive individuals that are pest hunted (such as young animals)and the adjustment of facilities where individuals that should be rescued from poor condition facilities are going to be kept.

In the 23d of November 2002, at a symposium we are going to conclude concerns of the measurement after putting all problems in order.