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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Oh Deer! Large Population Devastating Japan Forests

If I only had a buck for every time I heard Japan had a deer problem, I'd really have some doe.

Crappy puns aside, deer in Nagano-ken are actually doing some major damage to the forestry and agriculture in the area. Apparently the deer eat tree saplings... and since there are a lot of deer, a lot of tree saplings get eaten, meaning fewer trees are growing, meaning the deer are eating themselves out of house and home.

Now that photo above is merely one that amuses me - and is not from Nagano-ken, rather it is from Hiroshima.... did these deer simply not have any money to buy some Georgia Coffee?

Anyhow... there are about 1-million Sika Deer spread throughout Japan - and in Nagano, the deer population is so heavy that people there are calling for foreign aid.

No... not money... or foreign hunters, but rather foreign wolves.

Yup. Seems that the very last Honshu Wolf aka Japanese Wolf died in 1905 die to rabies and overhunting by humans.

Now, since Japan still hasn't figured out how to build a time machine other than a Seiko, the only way it can bring back wolves to cull the deer population is to bring it in from abroad. Are they doing that? No... not yet. It's just a thought.

Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife figures the wolves may be brought in after Japan settles on its new version of an Alien Registration Card sometime this summer. Kidding.

Actually, aside from introducing foreign wolves to Japan - never a good idea to introduce a species into a new country (in my own opinion), Japan is thinking about opening up legal sport hunting. Hmmm. Interesting.

The problem is... not that many Japanese actually hunt anymore.  We'll be back to our regularily scheduled blog after this musical video from Tenpole Tudor, doing a version of The Sex Pistols' "Who Killed Bambi" back in 1981.       

We're back - unlike the Japanese Wolf.

Japan... 150 years ago had the samurai warrior class where by they were all pretty damn good with a katana sword and a bow, and would often kill animals to feed themselves while on an expedition... and now... no real hunters. Of course... up in Hokkaido, there are still a few hunters... I know that 20 years ago, a guy in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken where I lived went up to Hokkaido and apparently killed a bear - either with a gun or his car. I know because I ate some with him after he made a stew for me. It was actually pretty good, but it's not something I'm going to actively seek out to eat.   

There's also the Ainu - Japan's indigenous population - who still hunt... with a spear, I believe, but really, there aren't that many hunters left. I suppose there are a few hunters in Nagano, as well who do hunt deer and boar. 

There's also that little problem of a very tough gun law in Japan, and the bugger of a problem in time and money to actually get a hunting license. It's not a sport for the poor.   

As such... with few predators, Japan's deer population continues to rise. At least the Japanese Sika Deer doesn't appear to be going extinct any time soon.

Times change, and believe it or not, Japan has changed too. Hunting for food is not really done in a society where it is easy enough to go to the store and buy your food.

Let's suppose Japan begins to cull the deer population... what will they do with all of that venison? Eat it, right? The Japanese eat whale, and damn near everything from the sea; chicken, beef, pork et al... so why not deer?  

Would you believe it? The Japanese do not appear to be very interested in eating venison - deer meat. They do, of course, but just like in Canada, it's not something we can pick up at the local supermarket. I know... I've looked. Perhaps it's in a specialty shop, but I don't want to have to hunt for my food.

And neither do the Japanese. In an effort to promote venison as a viable meat, chefs have been trying to interest the Japanese consumer. At a recent farmer's market in Tokyo, venison was offered up to anyone who would try it, with few takers.

Perhaps it has something to do with Bambi blowing of Godzilla? See HERE. I bet the Japanese would eat Godzilla. But strangely, not deer. 

Not sure why... venison is low cal and high in iron and proteins. It's a pretty healthy meat. certainly healthier than eating a poisonous blowfish - fugu.

Deer problem? Hell... if Japan would just open up their mouths and eat instead of talk, the rampant deer explosion could become a healthy meat alternative.

Either that or you could bring in some gaijin wolves. I won't even make a joke about bringing in cougars.

By the way... with the Silka deer eating the tree saplings and effectively damaging forest growth... just know that this is nature at work. Nature. Yes, the deer population is growing large because there is a lot of food and no predators... but as the population grows, it will soon run out of food to eat. Deer will die, and the forest will achieve equilibrium again. The tipping point for the deer just hasn't happened yet. Nature will figure this one out.

Maybe the deer will grow thumbs and wear pants so it can carry pocket change it can use in the vending machines?

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph

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