Shikoku's Asiatic black bears: ISLAND BEAR

Shikoku is the smallest land mass or island in the world to be inhabited by Asiatic black bears, which is why we call the Asiatic black bears of Shikoku "Island Bear"/s. Even worldwide, bears that inhabit islands are extremely rare. Island-inhabiting Asiatic black bears are limited to Japan, Taiwan, and Hainan Island, China. Among these, the Asiatic black bears of Shikoku are most in danger of becoming extinct due to the island's small size.

In order to survive, Asiatic black bears need vast forests with abundant food resources. On islands where land area is restricted, the habitat favored by Asiatic black bears tends to be small due to the active use of forests by humans. Additionally, as populations are isolated and surrounded by sea, once extinct, there is no prospect of an outside supply of individuals. In recent years, the Asiatic black bear of Kyushu was declared extinct. The extinction of the Asiatic black bear in Kyushu and the critical situation in Shikoku reflect our unsustainable use of forests and treatment of wildlife.

In Shikoku, the Asiatic black bear's habitat has declined and is now restricted to the Tsurugi area in eastern Shikoku. We believe that our generation has a responsibility to pass on a rich natural environment which supports the Asiatic black bear onto the next generation. To achieve this, urgent action is required.