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Old 23-01-2011, 05:21   #1
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Default Japan looks to reintroduce wolves!

A city in Japan is looking to reintroduce wolves to help with wild boar and deer populations!

I just have a small concern.. the "native" Japanese Honshu and Ezo wolves were the smallest in the modern world, at just about 34-36cm tall.. they went extinct in the early 20th century due to hunting and sickness.

The wolves they are thinking to reintroduce are from China... most likely the Eurasian wolf (same as our CsV ancestors) or the Tibetan (very similar but shorter legs).. are both much larger.

Wonder what will happen?

In English:

Oita city looks to reintroduce wolves in bid to control crop-destroying wild animals

A grey wolf kept in Hokkaido Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of the Japan Wolf Association)

BUNGO-ONO, Oita -- The municipal government in this city is planning to introduce wolves into local mountains in an attempt to control wild animals that destroy agricultural crops.

However, there are concerns that introducing the creature, which went extinct in the wild in Japan many years ago, may damage the local ecosystem and possibly violate the national animal law.
Despite the concerns, Yusuke Hashimoto, mayor of the Oita Prefecture city of Bungo-Ono, is set to move forward with the program, saying, "We cannot think of any other effective measures. I hope our initiative will serve as a model for other municipalities across the country."

The area is known as one of the major producers of shiitake mushrooms in Japan, and about 3,500 of all 16,400 households in the city are farmers.
In fiscal 2008, wild boars and deer in the area damaged agricultural products worth 32.2 million yen, while in fiscal 2009 the losses amounted to around 23.8 million yen. The city set up nets and traps to protect crops and eliminated some 2,460 wild boars and deer in fiscal 2008, and 2,570 in fiscal 2009.

"The damage would have been even greater taking into consideration the cases not reported to us," the city's agricultural and forestry division said.
There are some 400 hunters living in the city, but they are growing older. Hashimoto has been developing the idea of using the wolf in controlling harmful creatures after he read a book about the animal in 2007. The city government will include the research expenses for the program in its fiscal 2011 initial budget.

The municipal government will research the status of wild animals to be covered by the pest control program, and import gray wolves from China and Russia after obtaining understanding from local citizens, as well as surrounding municipalities and the national government. The city will set up a research center in a bid to allow citizens to get used to wolves before they are released into the wild.

However, the Ministry of the Environment's wildlife division points out that "the wolf is at the top of the ecosystem, and the animal will largely influence other species," adding, "the project requires careful consideration as wolves are hard to track once they are released."

The ministry's animal protection office is also concerned about the possibility that the introduction of wolves to local mountains could violate the terms related to the management of dangerous creatures covered by the animal law.

Meanwhile, Naoki Maruyama, the Japan Wolf Association president and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology professor emeritus, said, "The use of wolves in pest control has already been proved effective."
According to the association, forests in the Yellowstone National Park in the United States were restored after wolves were imported from Canada to control the wild deer population in the area between 1995 and 1996.
Referring to some concerns about the safety problem, Maruyama said, "Normally, wolves do not attack humans."

Hashimoto also stressed that domestic animals will also be safe as long as they are not left unattended.

A total of four towns in Mie and other prefectures with the same problem are supporting the project, and five more municipalities are interested.
The association, which plans to set up research and information centers about wolves across the country, is set to launch a research committee in 10 municipalities, including Bungo-Ono, sometime soon in a bid to promote the program.
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