News On Japan

Bear Cull Remains Unresolved as Negotiations Collapse

HOKKAIDO, Jun 15 (News On Japan) - A dispute over the remuneration for bear hunters has led to a standoff between a town in Hokkaido and its local hunter association. The breakdown in negotiations means that the hunters will no longer respond to bear sightings, leaving the small town of Naie, with a population of about 4,800, in a precarious situation.

Bear Cull Compensation Deemed Too Low

Footage shows a bear repeatedly charging at a moving light truck. This is just one of four sightings reported this month in Naie, located in southwestern Hokkaido.

The town had called on the local hunter association to participate in the "Wildlife Damage Control Team" to manage bear culling efforts. However, the negotiations hit a roadblock.

Hokkaido Hunter Association, Tatsuto Yamagishi: 'The pay is below minimum wage, and the danger allowance is only 3,700 yen. It’s as if they haven't given it any thought. If they had, these figures wouldn't make sense.'

Yamagishi expressed his anger over the situation, highlighting the low compensation for such hazardous work. The town had proposed a daily base pay of 4,800 yen, with an additional danger allowance of 3,700 yen for patrolling bear-prone areas, totaling 8,500 yen. An extra 1,800 yen would be added for any bear shot.

Despite the life-threatening nature of the job, Yamagishi told reporters that the offer was unacceptable and thus, they had to decline.

Consideration of Increased Pay Fails to Resolve Standoff

When comparing the proposed compensation with neighboring municipalities, Ashibetsu offers 30,000 yen per bear culled, Sapporo pays 36,300 yen for culling and transportation, and Shintotsukawa provides 60,000 yen per bear. It is clear that Naie's offer was significantly lower.

The town considered increasing the compensation but to no avail.

Naie Mayor Eiji Mitsumoto: 'During phone conversations, it became clear that we had to abandon the effort.'

The gap between the town and the hunter association remained unbridgeable, leading to the breakdown of negotiations. Despite the ongoing bear sightings, including two seen on June 13th in a pasture, the town will not rely on the hunter association for culling.

The pressing question remains: who will handle the bear culls now?

Mayor Mitsumoto: 'In addition to the hunter association, local hunting license holders have been helping in various capacities. We plan to continue relying on these individuals and aim to establish a proper system as soon as possible.'

Source: ANN

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