addressing and resolving recent
bear issues, it is important
to examine each issue separately.
Such issues include; spring bear
hunt (pest control), indiscriminate
capture using snare traps, and
inappropriate assignment policy
of the wildlife protection agents.
to ' Wildlife Protection and
Hunting law ', spring bear hunt
is defined as a measure of preventive
pest control and is carried out
routinely, especially in areas
of heavy snow as it is easy to
find black bears when there is
still lots of snow left or footprints
of bears on the snow Whether
this practice is done from necessity
and with appropriate measures
is, however, rather questionable.
one thing, bears are hunted indiscriminately
and well within their habitat
areas. Also, when a mother bear
is killed during the hibernation
period, orphaned cubs cannot
survive on their own and eventually
die as well.
heavy snow areas on the Japan
Sea side, spring bear hunt is
permitted in April and May, pest
control from June through November
15, and sport hunting also from
June through February 15, which
puts almost ceaseless hunting
pressure on bears. One of the
reasons of this is suspected
to be to obtain gall bladders,
which collect a lot of money.
is usually done secretly and
it is hard to obtain details
of this practice. Illegal snare
traps are also used a lot in
Korea and Japan Black Bear Institute,
together with a local conservation
group, removed 7,000 of them
there. In Japan this trap is
used mainly to capture wild boars
a relatively little snow.
trap is easy to handle and a
person can set up many traps.
So capture can be indiscriminate.
hunt is prohibited in 17 prefectures
in the western Japan, but this
trap is used for capturing wild
boars. Often bears get trapped
in it, too, and when they do,
they become violent and dangerous,
so they get shot and killed.
a person can set up a lot of
these traps, they are left without
proper management and some animals
get mutilated. During the research
conducted in the western Chugoku
between 1990 through 1998, of
64 bears that we checked, 2 bears
were three-legged and another
one got away from a trap leaving
a wrist in it.
life Protection Agent System
protection agents, who promote
proper observance of wildlife
protection and hunting law, are
part-time municipal government
employees and are usually hired
at the local level. There were
3,360 assigned as wildlife protection
agents as of 1998 and 99 percent
of them possess a hunting
the reason of which is that hunters
have thorough knowledge on wildlife.
Although 7 percent of them are
members of wildlife
organizations as well, it is
not in accordance with the spirit
of the law that those who are
supposed to supervise are also
to be supervised. Besides members
of wildlife conservation/protection
organizations also have extensive
knowledge on wildlife. So this
situation needs to be straightened