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FEATURE: Rare wild sea otters create tourist boom for Hokkaido town

A village on the eastern coastline of Hokkaido has actually seen a spreading of uncommon wild sea otters, providing it wishes of coming to be a traveler location each time when the threatened aquatic animal has actually been disappearing from Japanese fish tanks.

“I would love to come here again,” stated Satoshi Ishizuka, 53, that was going to Cape Kiritappu in Hamanaka from Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, on a night in mid-August while he excitedly viewed an otter swimming with its direct duck behind some rocks.

Supplied image taken May 31, 2020 programs wild sea otters seen in Hamanaka,Hokkaido (Photo thanks to Yoshihiro Kataoka)(Kyodo)

Sea otters can be observed year-round at the cape, also as their numbers diminish dramatically at fish tanks because of worldwide profession constraints as well as maturing populaces.

The vacationer market is specifically delighted.

The supervisor of the Kawamura Ryokan inn in Hamanaka stated there has actually been a rise in individuals featuring premium video cameras to picture the otters.

Katsuya Yumoto, head of the sales monitoring division at a travel bureau in the city of Kitami in Hokkaido’s Okhotsk area, stated, “I would like to propose an attractive travel plan for people, such as eating oysters from Akkeshi (in the northern main island’s Kushiro region) and stopping by Cape Kiritappu to see the sea otters.”

Yoshihiro Kataoka, 72, that released a photobook of sea otters around the cape, hypothesizes that sea otters in the Northern Territories– as Japan calls 4 Russian- held islands off Hokkaido that Tokyo cases– have actually broadened their environment as well as considering that been seen in Hamanaka.

In 2017, 2 ladies as well as one man otter were validated there. With the enhancement of a brand-new man, 4 infants had actually been birthed since in 2014. Only one grownup was elevated, yet a 5th otter was birthed in April this year. Breeding takes some time.

“Breeding is not so easy because the pups are sometimes bitten to death by male otters that aren’t their father. I hope we can increase the number of offspring somehow,” stated Kataoka.

Supplied image takenFeb 13, 2020 programs wild sea otters seen in Hamanaka,Hokkaido (Photo thanks to Yoshihiro Kataoka)(Kyodo)

Trade in wild sea otters is limited as they have actually seen their populaces decreased because of overhunting for their hair, making them uncommon in residential fish tanks.

According to the Japanese Association of Zoos as well as Aquariums, based in Tokyo, at their height in 1994, there were 122 sea otters at 28 centers around the nation.

But presently, just 6 sea otters are being elevated at 4 fish tanks; Adventure World (Wakayama Prefecture), Marine World Uminonakamichi (Fukuoka Prefecture), Toba Aquarium (Mie Prefecture), as well as Suma Aqua Life Park Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture).

That might transform, nevertheless, if reproduction of sea otters at Cape Kiritappu starts to endanger the neighborhood angling market, with sea otters consuming large quantities of fish and shellfish. In that situation, the otters might be caught as well as sent out to fish tanks.

Naonori Okada, assistant general of the organization, provided an instance of the Environment Ministry moving caught harbor seals to different fish tanks in as well as after 2016 because of harm to the angling market at Cape Erimo at the southerly suggestion of Hokkaido.

“If there are more sea otters and they are captured, aquariums might be willing to accept them,” stated Okada.

While an authorities of the Hamanaka Fisheries Cooperative confessed to “worry” regarding wide-scale damages, for the time being, there has actually been no recognizable effect.

“We would like to explore their utilization as a tourist resource while considering their coexistence with fishermen,” stated a Hamanaka community authorities.



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