Good morning everyone. My name is Stellaluna.
I'm a naturalist and I majored in ecology
at University. Today I'm going to talk about
the issue of introducing animals into Japan,
which I have been concerned about. Before
I start I'm going to define the word "Introduced
animals". "Introduced animals".
means animals in the wild which are not native
to the area. The number of introduced animals
are growing in Japan and all over the world
due to the frequent exchange of people, cargoes
and the growing pet market. First of all
I would like to address why those animals
are a problem and after that I would like
to suggest feasible solutions.
Firstly, some of them damage native animals
and plants directly. For example weasels
were introduced into many islands in order
to exterminate mice. But as a matter of fact
it is easier for them to hunt native birds
and reptiles. Thus they drive them to the
brink of extinction. Another example, a kind
of moth was accidentally introduced into
Tokyo after World War 2 and spread widely
and now they eat all sorts of tree leaves.
In their homeland they have predators but
as they are alien here, there are no animals
which prey on them and control their numbers.
As a result their populations exploded.
Secondly they often compete with their native
equivalents and in consequence oppress them.
For example, allegedly racoons have been
released by pet traders, because although
they look cute and are popular, they are
by no means tame. They don't only harm farm
products, which is also a big problem but
also oppress racoon dogs which have a similar
niche to them. Both of them are omnivorous
and inquisitive and live in the vicinity
of human beings and scavenge for kitchen
waste. Unfortunately introduced racoons are
bigger than native racoon dogs, therefore
they have an advantage in the struggle for
There are many problems related to introduced
animals but I don't have enough time to state
all of them, so I would like to suggest one
more point. Exotic pets are a kind of fad
but they might have diseases which we haven't
experienced yet. For example we have eradicated
rabies. But the incubation period of rabies
is very long. Sometimes it lasts up to 7
years. Under the current las, they are only
isolated in quarantine for several month
and I suppose it is not long enough. Recently
animal import law was revised and now some
animals are prohibited to be imported. That's
better than nothing but considering the case
of many emerging virus like SARS, AIDS, Ebola
hemorrihagic fever, exotic pets can be dangerous
even when they are in captivity, let alone
in the wild.
So, I've attempted to explain here that something
should be done on this issue. First of all,
we should have stricter regulations on the
importation of animals. Australia is a good
model. The country has unique fauna but since
the settlement of the first Europeans, it
has been intruded by a lot of alien animals
and they disturbed the native ecosystem.
Now the country is very cautious not to introduce
And atnother point is we have already had
too many introduced animals which have been
damaging the Japanese ecosystem. Five years
ago, the Japanese mammal academy appealed
that introduced animals should be eradicated
because of their impact on the native ecosystem.
Following this, there has been movement in
the Environment Ministry to sweep racoons,
goats, and stray cats and so on from some
areas. I believe this will make a difference
although far more effort should be done.
But there is also strong opposition. Many
people strongly sympathize with those animals.
They say it's cruel to kill those animals
as it is not their fault forbeing released
here. I understand they have a point but
still I think we should strike a balance
between the casualities of introduced animals
and the casualities of native animals. And
it is impractical to keep all those introduced
animasl in captivity.
In conclusion I believe it is inevitable
and urgent to exterminate introduced animals
considering their persistent impact on the
ecosystem and the critical situation of native
Thank your for listening. I hope next time
you will have concerning eyes on stray animals
and have second thought before you buy exotic
If you have any questions, I'll be pleased
to answer them now.