Japan Officials Consider Introducing Wolves to Control Deer Population

By Alan Clemons

This story out of Japan just seems too weird to be true.

Japan, if you didn’t know (and we didn’t!) has a big population of deer. Not whitetails, but sika deer. Apparently they’re so great in number they are wreaking havoc on the rice industry, not to mention gardens and landscaping.

Sounds familiar, eh? We have those problems sometimes here in the U.S. with whitetails munching on flowers and lawns, causing traffic problems and cities up in arms about what to do. Urban hunting is one management tool, of course.

Japanese officials in this Wall Street Journal story have tried to encourage more hunting. They’re also looking at other things, like fences, and encouraging residents to eat more deer.

And, they’re talking about reintroducing wolves to help control the deer population.

Wow. We’d have to think this area isn’t like the Yellowstone Ecosystem or some parts of the Northwest that are sparsely populated. Introducing wolves? That’s a pretty heady move.

Firearms and ownership are highly regulated in Japan, so the number of hunters isn’t great. Throw in other factors such as urbanization, fewer rural residents and an increase in wildlife problems — deer account for $33 million annually in agricultural damage — and it’s a big ol’ mess.

Almost 95,000 people have signed a petition supporting wolf reintroduction.

Check out the full story here.

This post originally appeared on www.deeranddeerhunting.com.

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