NPO picchio Wild Bear Mt.Asama
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Mt. Asama (2568m)
We are a Non-Profit-Organization with a mission to conserve our natural environment. We are located at the foot of the volcanic mountain Asama in Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan. “Picchio” means woodpecker in Italian. This name was chosen because woodpeckers are birds of the forest and it is our intention to communicate to people from a wildlife perspective the importance of our forests, nature and the environment.

Our Policy: Coexistence Between Humans and Wildlife

Siebold's Primrose
(Primula sieboldii)
As we have a rich natural environment around the town of Karuizawa, we also have wild animals and plants inhabiting the area as well. This leads to conflicts between humans and wildlife. NPO picchio conducts research and management to solve these problems and to conserve our ecosystem.

What is happening at the foot of Mt. Asama?

A planted larch forest
Karuizawa, located at the foot of the volcanic mountain, Asama, is surrounded by forests and other natural habitats. Its cool temperature in the summer and the beautiful natural environment attract eight million visitors every year. This is the cause of various problems between humans and the surrounding wildlife.

The vast majority of grassland has been lost due to development, and the flora and fauna that used to inhabit this area have been dramatically reduced in numbers. Siebold’s Primrose (Primula sieboldii), a flowering plant that plays a significant role in sustaining the ecosystem, and several other species are now endangered. Deciduous forests have been lost because of clear-cutting, and the huge larch forests that were planted to replace them are now abandoned due to the decline in forestry.
These circumstances has resulted in the deterioration and disappearance of habitats for many forms of wildlife.

In recent years garbage and other unnatural foodstuffs have become increasingly easier to get at through the town. This attracts Asian Black Bears (Ursus thibetanus) to residential districts repeatedly, and is one cause of conflicts occurring between bears and humans.

Introduced species like raccoons are also having adverse effects on native species and these too are causing problems with the human inhabitants of the area as their population increases.

NPO picchio's Mission

Considering this situation in Karuizawa, we feel the need to conserve the ecosystem and biodiversity at the foot of Mt. Asama. We need to have a system to sustain and utilize the area’s natural environment and culture at the same time. NPO picchio is trying to understand what is happening in the ecosystem through scientific research. These results are reflected in our wildlife management program, and are also used to suggest improved plans for future conservation to the government and related institutions.
We use these activities, research and management to assist in developing eco-tours and environmental education programs.

Activities – To Understand and Conserve Karuizawa's Ecosystem

  • Wildlife Management
    • Conservation and management of Asian Black Bears
    • The removal of raccoons and introduced species from the ecosystem
    Wildlife management
  • Research Around the Foot of Mt. Asama
    • Meadow ecosystems
    • Forest ecosystems
    Research projects

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