Bombus terrestris is a commercialized pollinator in many countries. In Japan, its colonies have been used in numerous greenhouses since 1991. However, new queens escape from the greenhouse colonies easily and naturalize. The invasion range of B. terrestris has been expanding annually. We captured 11 B. terrestris queens in Hamanaka, Akkeshi District, Hokkaido, on 11 June 2010. This is the first record of B. terrestris in this region. Three of the 11 captured queens had pollen cakes on their hind legs, showing that each of these queens had founded colonies in the area. We found the queens on the edge of the Kiritappu wetland. Since B. terrestris is a powerful immigrant, we predict that it will invade the wetland in the near future. B. terrestris also competes with native Japanese bumblebees for several resources (e.g., nesting sites and native flowers for nectar and pollen). Therefore, the invasion of B. terrestris into the Kiritappu wetland will probably pose serious risks for its unique ecosystem, including native bumblebees, plants, and animals.
I previously (Takatsuki, 2009) proposed the following question: Although bears are often regarded as umbrella species, is this actually true? So far, I have not been able to find scientific evidence in support of this, and I feel that conservation activities should be based on scientific approaches. Indeed, this opinion is in accordance with that of S. Boutin (2005) in his review of the ecological effects of carnivores in boreal forests of Nordic countries, in which he discussed several effects of bears on ungulates, hares, rodents, and vegetation through cascade effects. Boutin emphasized that a "fine-filter" conservation approach that focuses on particularly charismatic carnivores often overlooks ecological processes and that carnivore-oriented conservation requires large refuges. However, actual refuges are often too small for such large carnivore species, particularly in Europe. Such approaches that focus only on carnivores as umbrella species risk the loss of endangered species or organisms requiring particular ecological processes. For biodiversity conservation, a "coarse-filter" approach that focuses on ecological processes such as wild fires, logging, and succession is more important and effective. Given that the social conditions of Japan in terms of biological conservation are often more similar to those of Europe than of North America, a "coarse-filter" approach may be more appropriate for bear conservation in Japan.