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Bear Management
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  About Asiatic Black Bear
Raccoon Control
It is essential for human subsistence to conserve the ecosystem and biodiversity. It is also important to secure the daily lives of people living there. For humans to coexist with wildlife and reduce problems at the same time, management based on scientific research is needed. We have two intensive management programs working on Karuizawa's wildlife problems.

Karuizawa's Bear Problems

Large accumulation of garbage in the town
Every summer in Karuizawa, Asiatic Black Bears (Ursus thibetanus) venture into the town looking for garbage. Summer is a difficult season for bears because there is less natural food in the mountains for them to eat. At the same time, the town of Karuizawa is full of people coming from all over Japan and from overseas to spend the summer here. More people means more garbage. Garbage is literally overflowing throughout the town and the bears can easily get food if only they dare come down.

Garbage is not the only unnatural food which attracts bears. Bears come for human food and pet food stored in sheds, outside refrigerators and freezers. They also come for the grease traps outside of kitchens. On the south side of Karuizawa, we receive reports on corn and apiary damages every year.
A bear eating garbage

Bears also cause damage trying to get to natural food sources. Bees occasionally build nests inside the walls of houses. There are times when bears will break the walls to get at these beehives. They visit the yards of houses to dig up anthills in the ground or decaying timber.

Normally, bears are scared of people and they try to avoid us. However, when they repeatedly venture into town to get food, they grow accustomed to the presence of humans, and in the end, it is possible that they might harm people with the intention of getting food.

Traditional Bear Management

A garbage collection site damaged by a bear
In many places in the world, bears are moved or killed when they cause problems. This is one way of solving the problem, however it does not always work. Different bears start coming in, or the same bears come back to the same spot. Often when a bear is killed in an attempt to manage the problem, people do not know for sure that particular bear was the one causing the problems.

NPO picchio's Bear Management

NPO picchio is trying different approaches. We think removing the root causes of bear appearances in town is very important in addition to dealing with the bears themselves. We first find out which bear is causing the problem and then apply non-lethal management methods whenever possible to the problems in Karuizawa.

We started the scientific research and management of bears in 1998. The town of Karuizawa approved our management methods and this work has been Karuizawa's commission to picchio since the year 2000.
What we are trying to do in our bear management program is to teach bears to act as wild bears do. We teach them to move away from people and avoid residential districts by making them feel uncomfortable. At the same time, we also teach people how not to attract bears around the house, how to secure bear attractants, how to safely enjoy being outdoors in bear country and so on. Also it is important to restore their natural habitat.

NPO picchio's Bear Management
About Asiatic Black Bear
Hosting IBA Conference in Karuizawa

Raccoon Problems

A captured raccoon
Every land has a unique ecosystem, in which exists a sensitive balance between animals and plants. When an alien species enters an area, it affects this balance. Introduced species like black bass and oneseed burr cucumber have been encroaching all over Japan. And in Karuizawa, the raccoon has become a problem. Raccoons cause the loss of native species by consuming them and competitive exclusion. They can possibly carry infectious diseases and damage agricultural crops.

NPO picchio has started a raccoon control program to conserve Karuizawa's ecosystem.


NPO picchio's Raccoon Control Program