Blind Spot in Anti-Monkey Electrical Fences Identified (The Fenceposts) and Addressed

Blind Spot in Anti-Monkey Electrical Fences Identified (The Fenceposts) and Addressed
Yomiuri Shimbun: サル用防護柵に盲点、つかむ柱に電流流したら…
February 5, 2012

Monkeys are plundering crops all over Japan. In response, the Mie Prefecture Agricultural Research Institute in Matsuzaka City has improved upon the monkey-proof electrical fence by electrifying the fenceposts, as well, so that monkeys can no longer climb up and over them.

The research institute noticed a flaw in typical fence design: though electricity ran across the highest horizontal post, it didn’t run through the vertical posts, and the monkeys took advantage of that.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, monkey-inflicted crop damages totaled 8500 tons and ¥1.9 billion ($19.8 million) in 2010, 400 tons and ¥200 million more than the year before. The general response has been to erect fences around fields and orchards, but farmers complained that even though the fences were tall, monkeys found spots that weren’t electrified and used them to cross over. Hence the Research Institute looked into the problem.

Its leader, Naoto Yamabata (42), studied surveillance film and realized that the monkeys were jumping fences more than two meters tall by taking hold of their posts. According to Dr. Yamabata, most fence makers do not electrify posts because they fear electrical contact with the ground will cause a short circuit. Dr. Yamabata solved the problem by wrapping aluminum tape and wire around the posts and running the power through them. Seven farmers in towns like Suzuka, Yokkaichi, and Taiki, in cooperation with local governments and agricultural improvement popularization centers, volunteered to install the new design for half a year’s trial starting last July.

One of these farmers, an 83-year old woman in Nishi-shonaichō, Shizuka, said that “last year, we couldn’t harvest any soybeans, cabbage, or napa, but this year they didn’t eat anything, and we had a harvest.” A Taiki farmer said that he harvested 1.7 tons of napa, and that was 1.7 tons more than he ever could before. The Agricultural Research Institute is planning to extend its trials to monkey-plagued farms in Tsu, Misugi, and Shiga.







(2012年2月5日11時37分 読売新聞)

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