To understand the present status of spotted seals (Phoca largha) at Lake Furen in eastern Hokkaido, Japan, we investigated seasonal variations in the number from May to the month before the sea-ice season between 2012 and 2016.
There were no differences in the seasonal variations of total spotted seal numbers at Lake Furen from 2012 to 2016, and the number of hauled-out seals alone increased until September and decreased from October. Since this trend in the numbers of hauled-out spotted seals at Lake Furen is the same at other summer habitats that have been reported, the haul-out periods of spotted seals are consistent at their various summer habitats. At Lake Furen, the number of hauled-out spotted seals and the tide have a strong relationship in analyses using generalized linear models; hauled-out seals were observed only when the tide was below 80 cm, but few were observed above that level. This study has also found that the tendency for numbers from October to increase above summer numbers indicates that there are more individuals that migrate as far south to Lake Furen in autumn prior to the arrival of sea-ice.
Antler velvet (growing deer antler tissue) is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. In Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare issued a list of four source kinds of deer for antler velvet Cervi cornu pantotrichum in 1971. Since the Japanese sika deer is not listed, distributing antler velvet of Japanese sika deer as Chinese medicine within the Japanese market is prohibited. In this study, we reviewed the scientific names corresponding to the four kinds of deer listed as source animals for antler velvet. We also investigated whether it is possible to utilize the antler velvet of Japanese sika deer, via molecular phylogenetic analysis using mitochondrial DNA control region sequences to reconstruct the genetic relationships between the Japanese sika deer and the four listed deer. We concluded that the four listed deer correspond to Cervus nippon hortulorum, Cervus nippon mantchuricus, Cervus elaphus xanthopygus and Cervus elaphus. Genetic divergence among the four listed deer was of a similar magnitude to that between each of them and the Japanese six sika deer subspecies, suggesting that Japanese sika deer could also be used as a source of antler velvet. We expect that utilization of antler velvet as Chinese medicine would increase capture efforts by raising the resource value of sika deer, and that this may reduce the amount of damage that sika deer are responsible for in Japan.
In Chiba Prefecture, the local government has been extending protective fencing to prevent paddy damage by wild boars (Sus scrofa). However, the gross damage by wild boars across Chiba Prefecture has not decreased when considering whole area of cities, towns, and villages. To clarify the cause of this contradiction, we investigated the damage by wild boars between 2011 and 2016, in 1192 rice paddies, in Kyonan town, Chiba Prefecture. This showed that weeding around rice paddies and closed fencing was effective at reducing damage by wild boars. On the other hand, a fence that only partially surrounds the paddy had no effect on damage. The risk of damage increased with proximity to the forest edges and abandoned cultivated lands, and with a greater distance from roads. From the results of the 6-year survey, it was observed that there was a tendency for the wild boar damage to increase not only in the vicinity of, but also areas far from, the forest edge. It was suggested that the increase in proximity of abandoned land to abandoned land, and paddy fields contributed to the expansion of area of damage. In addition, it was recognized that wild boar damage to paddy fields advances their chance of abandonment, and that the increase in abandoned cultivated land and the occurrence of wild boar damage are linked.
Mt. Hayachine, which is the famous mountain of Iwate, has had reported sightings of the Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus muta since ancient times, but there was never any evidence to support it. However, in a school collection in Ehime Prefecture, a stuffed specimen suspected of being a Rock Ptarmigan from Mt. Hayachine in Iwate Prefecture was analyzed, and the authenticity of the production area was examined.
This study traced historical records regarding hawk hunting and crane trapping of the Hirosaki clan during the early Edo period. It revealed that there were many designated fields where Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, and Peregrin falcons were captured for falconry purposes. Falconers played important roles by regularly providing meat for the castle kitchen throughout the year. The falconers hunted numerous Skylark and Common quail during summer, and hunted goose and wild ducks from autumn to spring. The findings this study also indicate that the grassland was wide during that time period.
Japanese cranes were recorded from spring to autumn; thus, the data indicates that Japanese cranes are likely to have been breeding in the Tsugaru region; these cranes were often captured by peasants. On the other hand, white-naped cranes and hooded cranes were captured during the spring and fall migration period. Such records suggest that these cranes flew over the Tsugaru region when they migrated from north to south, and vice versa.