Wild Dogs Raid Shimabara Stables; May Be Descendants of Pets Set Loose During 1991 Volcanic Eruption

Wild Dogs in Fukae-machi
Wild dogs. Image captured by a stable’s security camera in Fukae-machi, Shimabara, Nagasaki.

Wild Dogs Raid Shimabara Stables; May Be Descendants of Pets Set Loose During 1991 Volcanic Eruption
Yomiuri Shimbun: 野犬の群れが家畜襲撃…噴火で逃げた犬の子孫か
Keisuke Wakabayashi reporting November 7, 2011

Packs of wild dogs have been continually assaulting calves and goats in the stables of Fukae-machi on Shimabara Peninsula, Nagasaki.

The damages from periodic raids had never been concentrated before, but since this March, there have been 11 incidents around the foot of Mt. Fugen, one of the peaks of Mt. Unzen. Because one of the sites was mere dozens of meters away from an elementary school, the city has dispatched a hunting team in response.

According to the city, the 11 incidents have left 24 calves dead or missing, and 2 goats and 20 chickens have also been eaten. The attacks in March and September were especially serious, and there were two incidents in October. The city estimates the damages have already surpassed 2 million yen.

According to eyewitness accounts from farmers, the dogs move in packs of four to six. After one scopes out a stable, the group attacks as one. They work together to kill calves: while one barks at a calf to get its attention, the others bite it from the back. They roam from night until dawn and only target calves that are separated from their parents, indicating they have a great deal of caution.

Explanations Fukae-machi is being targeted include (1) when Mt. Fugen erupted in 1991, residents who were evacuating released their pet dogs into the wild, and their descendants have stayed there; (2) stray dogs that were fed by town residents may have banded together. City Hall says “the number of dogs in the area has increased year after year, and we think they’re even more numerous now, but that doesn’t explain the sudden rise in attacks this year in particular.”

In mid-September, a 44-year old man set up wire netting and a security camera at the entrances of his two adjoining stables to protect against future attacks after two two-week old male calves held inside a 1m tall, 1.5m wide, 1.5m deep wooden box were eaten. At the end of October, 4 dogs carefully approached the area, and their likenesses were caught on film.

The man said, “They struck on a day when typhoon winds were blowing, and it was difficult to hear. I was uncontrollably angry because I took care of those calves as if they were family. The economic damages were heavy,” he said emphatically. Another livestock owner, a 39-year old who lost a calf in March, argued “if we wait until children and the elderly are attacked, it’ll already be too late. I want to catch them right away.”

The elementary school and kindergarten close to one raid have been warned. Numerous trap boxes have been laid without success. Ranchers are putting up wire netting in an attempt to protect their stables, but there is already evidence that the dogs will dig tunnels under the netting to attack. The city is cooperating with professional hunters and urgently pursuing the dogs.

The city’s public servant in charge of the effort says “I’d like to call citizens’ attention to this problem so we can work on it together and minimize the damage.”

Original/原稿:
野犬の群れが家畜襲撃…噴火で逃げた犬の子孫か

防犯カメラに映っていた野犬(南島原市深江町で)

長崎県南島原市深江町で、家畜の子牛やヤギが野犬の群れに襲われる被害が相次いでいる。

過去に集中的な被害はなかったが、今年3月以降、雲仙・普賢岳の麓や周辺で断続的に11件発生。小学校と数十メートルしか離れていない被害現場もあるため、市は本格的な捕獲に乗り出した。

市によると、11件の被害では、子牛24頭が死傷または行方不明となり、ヤギは2頭、鶏は20羽が食い殺された。盛りがつく3月と9月に目立ち、10月にも2件発生。市の試算では被害総額は計約200万円に上っている。

畜産農家らの目撃情報では、野犬は4~6匹ずつのグループで行動。うち1匹が畜舎を下見した後に集団で襲いかかったり、1匹がほえて子牛の注意を引いている間に、残りの犬が後ろからかみついたりするなど、巧みに連係している。行動は夜から明け方に限り、親牛から離れた子牛だけを狙うなど、警戒心も強い。

深江町に被害が集中する要因については〈1〉1991年の普賢岳噴火災害で、住民が避難する際に逃がした飼い犬が野生化し、その子などが居着いた〈2〉町内の住民が餌付けして野犬が集まるようになった――などの説がある。市は「野犬の数は数年周期で増減しており、今年は多いとみられるが、被害が急増した原因とまでは特定できない」としている。

9月半ばに自宅に隣接する牛舎で、木箱(幅、奥行き1・5メートル、高さ1メートル)に入れていた生後2週間の雄の子牛2頭を食い殺された男性(44)は、対策として、牛舎の入り口に野犬の侵入を防ぐ金網と防犯カメラを設置した。10月下旬には、野犬4匹が周囲を警戒しながら牛舎に近づく様子がカメラに映っていた。

男性は「台風で物音が聞こえにくい日に狙われた。家族同様に大切に育てていたので怒りが収まらない。経済的損失も大きい」と語気を強める。3月に子牛1頭を襲われた別の農家(39)も「児童や高齢者が襲われてからでは遅い。すぐに捕まえてほしい」と訴える。

市は被害現場周辺の小学校や保育園に注意を呼び掛ける一方、数か所に捕獲箱を設置したが成果は出ていない。畜産農家らは畜舎の周りに金網を張るなどの対策を講じているが、野犬が穴を掘って金網の下から侵入しようとした形跡も見つかっており、市は専門の業者と連携して捕獲準備を急いでいる。

市の担当者は「住民に注意を喚起し、粘り強く取り組むことで被害を軽減させたい」と話している。(若林圭輔)

(2011年11月7日10時01分 読売新聞)

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