Community-Based Wildlife Management: A Case Study of Sika Deer in Japan
AbstractThe Japanese hunter population is declining, while human-wildlife conflicts (e.g., damage by overabundant sika deer) have become an issue in suburban and rural areas. Beginning in 2004, a community-based deer management program was initiated by a local nongovernmental organization in collaboration with stakeholders in Nishiokoppe Village, Hokkaido, Japan. The goal was to integrate deer management with a contribution to the local economy by attracting visitor hunters and to develop a hunter education program. For the first 3 years, 60 hunters made 136 visits, hunted 337 days, and harvested 280 deer, while 173 persons attended the hands-on hunter education programs that can help recruit younger hunters. The programs generated 191,000 USD during the years, providing employment for several local residents. We suggest that a combination of recreational hunting and hunter education in rural areas can promote community-based wildlife management in a highly developed and high density society where hunting participation is declining.