Five stories about the wild kingdom in Japan:

  • The fishery scene on the Hokkaido coast is seeing changes, possibly due to climate change, the Hokkaido Shimbun reports. Early one morning in October, fresh yellowtails were unloaded at the Osatsube fishing port in Hakodate. Using fixed nets to catch various kinds of fish, local fishermen caught 32 tons of fish on that day, of which 30 tons were adult yellowtails. A decade ago, they used to unload about 100 tons of Pacific flying squid a day, but now they are catching around 50 kilograms.
  • Between April and September this year, wild bears were spotted 13,670 times across Japan, the most over a six-month period in the last five years, reports Bloomberg’s Erica Yokoyama. In many northern regions, the number of reported bear sightings reached the highest in over a decade, data from the environment ministry showed. “Bears might have expanded their areas of activities after not seeing humans around (because of coronavirus) during spring and early summer season,” said Shinsuke Koike, deputy representative of the Japan Bear Network.
  • The internet collectively signed “Awww” after male giant panda cub was born at Adventure World in Wakayama Prefecture, Jiji reported. Being in his 80s in human terms, the cub’s father, 28-year-old Eimei, broke his own world record of being the oldest male giant panda in captivity to have sired a cub through natural breeding.
  • Wild deer at Nara Park in western Japan, a major tourist attraction, have often suffered after eating plastic bags discarded by visitors, Kyodo reports, But local companies have now succeeded in developing paper bags that the animals can digest. The deer-friendly bags use paper made with rice bran, which pose fewer health risks if they are eaten, according to one of the three developers. “We made the paper with the deer in mind,” said Hidetoshi Matsukawa, president of one of the developers called Naraism.
  • More than 700 fire ants have been found at Nagoya, the Environment Ministry said back in September. The ants, all worker ants, were found moving into and out of cracks on sidewalks and holes in the ground at the port. Japan struggled with a surge of fire ants back in 2017. Japan even published a pamphlet titled “Stop the Fire Ant.”