Causes and Measures for Animal Damage in Rural Japan

04/27/2017RURAL JAPAN

Since coming to Maze; rural area of Japan, I drive a car every day.

This is the only way as we don’t have any other transportation like train around here.

I need to practice driving more but I don’t like it at night. It’s okay for me to do it in dark.

Why don’t I like it? This is because “they” suddenly come out…

Deer, boar, monkey and other wild animals!!

We usually encounter those animals at night and clash into them in the worst case.

What is “animal damage”?

There are a lot of animal damage especially in a region between mountains like Maze.

We just see dogs or cats in Tokyo and they don’t harm human lives.

The situation is different in countryside. I’d like to share sort of animal damage on below.

Direct damage

Needless to say, direct damage means we’re attacked by wild animals.

Otherwise as I said on the top, we accidently hit a deer during drive and pay much for the repair.

I heard a story from the city officer and he paid about 700,000 yen for it.

Indirect damage

This is damage like crops and vegetables browsed or farm ground dug.

According to the research by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, we unfortunately have 20 billion yen damage on agriculture in 2013.

I’ve seen traces boars dug ground around residences in Maze.

Nobody thinks they want to harm human lives but it’s serious problem here.

The best 4 criminal animals

I share the best 4 animals cause those kind of damage.

4th Bear

I really don’t wanna encounter them.

In Japan, most of them are brown or black bears and they are too fierce.

It’s better to bring bells in order not to meet them but no one wants to be in mountain alone.

3rd Monkey

Actually, it’s the first one that I’ve ever seen since coming here.

Just close to my home, I saw a bunch of them.

Some people may think them as adorable animals but we get news; they attack and rob a bag.

2nd Boar

I ate boar meat last month but I’m afraid thay hold a grudge against it.

They seem to be dangerous but actually nervous and coward.

Compared to other animals, boar has a great sniffing so they memorize flavors of tasty food and show up around farm ground to browse them.

1st Deer

To my surprise, deer is the number 1 animal which harm human lives.

People encounter them during night driving and they browse crops so much.

What is the cause of this problem?

There are 2 reasons if I briefly classify.

  • A lot of trees planted before but no one cares now
  • Feed animals before we knew it

Global warming also has some effect on increasing number of animals but I’d like to explain about details of above 2 reasons.

A lot of trees planted before but no one cares now

It’s like a time flow, and people don’t manage forest which need to be cared.

It’s based on a story told by the head of Nishimura.

Now forestry is declining in Japan but the top of Japanese industry in the past.

A lot of families lead lives with timber and char-grilling in Maze before.

Numerous softwood trees were planted in 1960s nationwide.

However, as trading got more popular, a lot of cheap timbers were imported from foreign countries.

Nobody wants to buy expensive ones and domestic timbers didn’t sell well.

Then, people in forestry quit their job and relocated to urban area.

This is also one of the reason of depopulation in rural area.

You know, the number of trees just increases if not cut.

Then, wild animals also increase because forest can be a good environment for them to live in.

Before planting, there was a buffer area between residence and mountain so wild animals didn’t come down.

If there is, they can see how people live.

That’s why they are afraid of human and don’t want to be in close area to residence.

So, we remove buffer zone by planting a lot of trees and nobody doesn’t manage forest, which leads to increasing number of wild animals.

Actually, there is another reason of animals coming down to residence area.

Feed animals before we knew it

I’ve seen garbage in mountain here just a few times but this is the another reason.

If people doesn’t care, that would be food for animals.

Not only trash but also crop that cannot be sold and left around field might be food for them.

You know, it cannot be animal damage if they just have only stuff people don’t care like garbage.

Then, why do animals browse vegetables? It’s same as how human thinks of things.

If we can buy something at the same price, we definitely buy more valuable one.


It’s same for animals, they just want to have more delicious one in the same field.

They repeat it and now become a big problem.


The hole story is like, nobody didn’t manage forest and the number of animals were increasing.

Moreover, removing buffer zone by planting and feeding lead that they come down to residence area.

You might find it; this problem is all our fault. We asked for it.

How we take measures against animal damage

Whatever the cause is, we must remove the danger of our lives.

There are 4 ways like below.

Restoring buffer zone

It’s the best way, I think.

We just cut trees near around residence and we should implement 2nd solution parallel.

We have to divide residence and place wild animals living because they reside in bush like forest.

So we cut trees and make some buffer area as before planting.

Human and animal can coexist in one place.

Make animal fence

Even if we restore buffer zone, it’s not enough and boars which want to have tasty crops come down to residence.

We need something more, that is animal fence.

I shared how to make it before.

Electric fence can be better.

I’m sorry but electric shock makes them step away from residence since they’re scared of it.

Releasing pet and stock

Wild animals are sensitive to sign and smell of human and other animal.

That’s why it can be a solution for animal damage to release cow and sheep or take a dog walk near mountains.

The interesting one is utilizing dogs. They chase monkeys and bears away from residence.

I’m not sure how much it worked but we implemented it here in Maze.


You might know the last one.

Compared to 40 years ago, the number of hunter decreases.

On the other hand, the number of capture increases. You know actually, the number of wild animals also increases.

Now in Japan, we have not only hunting men but hunting women.

There are a lot of hunters here in Maze.


I’ve broaden the story from my concern, which I don’t like driving at night.

We have nothing to do with animal damage if we live in urban Japan.

Actually, I’ve ever seen those kind of animals only in zoo.

We have to remove the danger of human lives.

To be honest, I’m sorry but I know it’s all our human beings’ fault.

That’s why I hope we can coexist by restoring buffer zone.

It would be appreciated if you think about this problem wherever you live.

Everybody wishes we can go back to the time both human and animal reside in mountain.

Anyway, I continue to be careful not to encounter wild animals while driving.