Squirrels damaging historic wooden buildings to be culled in Japan

Environmental activists say introduced squirrels pose a threat to Japan's biodiversity and support their culling

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Squirrels damaging historic wooden buildings to be culled in Japan

Japanese authorities have decided to cull “invasive” squirrels that have arrived from outside, causing damage to historic buildings and wooden temples in the city of Kamakura and damaging the local ecosystem.

The Kamakura city government is reportedly willing to spend an extra 48 thousand dollars to deal with the squirrel problem.

According to Mainichi, the city plans to provide residents with cages, put up posters asking tourists not to feed the squirrels and hire experts to humanely cull the animals, also known as Formosan squirrels.

Environmental activists in Kamakura also recognize the threat these invasive species pose to Japan’s biodiversity and support the culling initiative.

More than 150 species of animals and plants are already considered invasive in Japan and are listed as foreign invaders by the environment ministry.

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In 2000, local authorities in Kamakura tried to control the Formosan squirrel population by capturing and euthanizing 69 of them. But instead of declining, the number of squirrels continued to increase, reaching around 1571 in 2018.

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Authorities estimate that this number will increase further in 2023, with 1533 squirrels captured in just the first 8 months.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that municipalities on the Miura Peninsula experienced no significant changes, but the rate of increase in Kamakura was unusually high and officials described it as “abnormal”.

Posters and flyers informing residents about the damage caused by squirrels have been posted all over Kamakura.

“They look cute, but they are causing a lot of damage in the town,” SCMP quoted an unnamed Kamakura city official as saying. It has become a real problem for many people.”

However, an official told Mainichi that “the intense heat this summer may have made it impossible to collect the mountain nuts that squirrels eat, which is why squirrels have been spotted in the urban area of Kamakura.”

Source of the news: https://www.independent.co.uk/news


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