Japan is seeing more and more frequent attacks on humans by monkeys, bears and wild boars. The number of wild animals is also increasing and the problem seems to have several causes. It is also reported that dolphins sometimes bite humans on Japanese beaches.
Although some suggest “climate change” is a key part of the problem, others point to decreasing rural populations which appear to be leading to a population boom among wild animals.
“For the last decade or so, the rainy season that used to reliably last for around a month from mid-June has become shorter and delivered less rain,” she said, adding: “And this year it has been extreme.”
“There was cloud cover during June, but not enough rain and now we are seeing record high temperatures across the country.” This results in less food for the animals.
Although that may be true, there is more to the story. There have been a record number of bear sightings, over 13,000. As in the United States, big city suburbs have been steadily inching into wild animal habitat. An increased bear population is thus forced to cohabit with encroaching humans. Monkeys and wild boars face the same problem.
Another part of the puzzle was supplied by Kevin Short. Short is a professor at the Tokyo University of Information Sciences. Deutsche Welle quoted Short:
“In the past, these villages used to work as a sort of buffer zone between the forests and the suburbs and villagers would cull the animals that took their crops and so on,” he said.
“With villages losing all their young people and gradually shrinking, there are fewer people to stop the wildlife from taking over.”
“Japanese macaques, for example, are very intelligent and once they realize that they do not need to fear humans and that they can effectively bully us, then that spreads through the troupe very quickly.
“They have also learned that the suburbs of Japan’s towns and cities provide attractive and easy sources of food,” he underlined.
The disappearance of villages and hunters means a population boom for the animals, and a loss of the fear of humans.
Abe made a comment already familiar to suburban Americans
“The bottom line is that these are wild animals in their natural habitat,” said Abe. “Humans are intruding into their spaces, they are not pets and people cannot just play with them. People need to learn to stay away from wildlife.”
The problem is severe with macacques attacking children and raiding homes, Wild boars rummaging around towns and cities and bears foraging for food. There are also reports of dolphins biting people along crowded beaches.
We have reported on similar problems around the world. Italians are facing what amounts to a war with wild boars. In the United States black bears are moving into the suburbs of Boston. In India many areas have conflicts ongoing between monkeys dogs and humans.
The problem is severe: