Wild animals are being hunted by local government employees in an effort to reduce crop damage and the number of animals prowling populated areas.
The "civil service hunters" are targeting monkeys, bears, deer, wild boars, foxes, and other animals. The public servants are being trained in the use of rifles in order to obtain hunting licenses.
Uozu town, Toyama Prefecture, which has few licensed hunters, is purchasing guns and encouraging employees to learn how to hunt. The area experiences heavy crop damage from monkeys and bears. Nine city workers are studying to obtain a license. The city also plans to purchase a shotgun using subsidies from the central government.
The municipal government of Kami, Kochi Prefecture, has three hunter-workers who teach farmers how to prevent animal-related crop damage. The city government intends to send the three on deer-hunting missions. A wild boar injured four people as the beast went on a rampage in a residential area in Iwade city, Wakayama Prefecture, Dec. 14, 2008. Two police officers struggled to control the boar for about 10 minutes before local hunters killed the boar. The attack ocurred several kilometers from the mountains.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the total damage to Japanese farms caused by birds and animals amounted to JPY 18.5 billion in fiscal 2007. Wild boars were the chief cause of damage, accounting for JPY 5 billion of crop losses.
Takeo city, Saga prefecture, will establish in April an official "wild boar department" to focus on preventing crop damage by wild pigs, and to commercialize wild boar meat. The city estimates more than 30,000 wild boars roam near the city, and about 1000 are captured annually. The city has planted a patch of lemongrass with plans to extract lemongrass oil and use the oil in the fight against wild boars. The animals are averse to the strong scent of the tropical grass. The city hopes to market a lemongrass-oil anti-wild boar potion.
In 2004, some farmers in Misato, Shimane Prefecture, formed an association to process and sell wild boar meat. The meat is offered at an upscale hotel in Tokyo, and in restaurants in Hiroshima, Matsue, and Niigata. Those who catch a wild boar receive about JPY 5500 per animal. Misato wild boar meat retails for JPY 3000 to JPY 4000 per kilogram. Towns in Gunma, Chiba, Nagasaki, and other prefectures also capture, process, and sell wild boar meat.
Other areas affected by crop damage from wild boars are also researching the wild boar meat market. Kiyosawa a hamlet in Shizuoka will offer wild boar stew and wild boar roast at the Shizuoka cultural festival on Feb. 2. The town hopes to develop tasty recipes and market wild boar meat. Noro Kogen lodge in Kure city, Hiroshima prefecture has created a wild boar burger and a wild boar sandwich.
Fireworks are used to scare away marauding monkeys on farms in Higashine City, Yamagata prefecture. A local farmer created a launching device modeled after a shotgun. The 80-centimeter twin barrels of the launcher shoot fireworks 20 meters and can fire 16 times in rapid succession. The smell of smoke and the loud sound has been effective in scaring away monkeys. The monkey-repeller has been used about 50 times in remote areas. "It is easy to use and carry safely," the designer said. "Monkeys also seem to misunderstand and now run away when I have only a genuine gun."