Japan tackles wildlife overpopulation to reduce crop damages

TOKYO, Jan. 20 — Japan’s agriculture ministry is stepping up efforts to reduce crop damage caused by overpopulated wildlife across the country.

Economic losses caused by wildlife was estimated at 17.2 billion yen in 2016, down 3% from a year earlier, according to the ministry. Deer and wild boar accounted for nearly a half of the overall losses.

Crop damage caused by wild animals has declined from the peak of 23.9 billion yen in 2010, yet the level of farm losses affected by them remains high, the ministry said.

The government has now set a target to reduce the number of deer and wild boar by half by 2023.

It promotes hunting and encourages farming communities to sell wild game meat, while developing support programs that cover the costs of installing fences along the perimeter of their crops to deter roaming wild animals.

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