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.

Original/原稿:
サル用防護柵に盲点、つかむ柱に電流流したら…

 全国でサルが農作物を食い荒らす被害が相次ぐ中、三重県農業研究所(松阪市)がサルの侵入を防ぐ「防護柵」を改良し、支柱に電気を流して乗り越えられないようにした。

 防護柵の最上部に水平に張られた電線には電流が流れていたが、サルは電流が流れていない支柱をつかんでいるという盲点に研究員が気づいた。県内7か所の農家に協力してもらって半年間、実験したところ、被害が確認されなかったという。

 農林水産省によると、サルによる2010年度の農作物の被害は、8500トン、19億円で、前年度より400トン、2億円増えた。対策としては、田畑や果樹園を防護柵で覆うことが一般的だが、農家からは「高い柵でも電気が流れていないところを見つけて乗り越えてしまう」との声があり、研究所で対策を検討してきた。

 研究所主任研究員の山端直人さん(42)が監視カメラの映像を解析した結果、サルは支柱をつかみながら上り、高さ2メートル以上の柵を跳び越えていることに気づいた。山端さんによると、大半のメーカーは、支柱に電気を流すと地面に漏電することから、電気を流してこなかった。山端さんは柵の支柱にアルミテープやアルミ線を巻いて電気が流れるように改良した。鈴鹿、四日市市、大紀町など計7か所の農家に協力してもらい、市町や県農業改良普及センターと共同で昨年7月から実験を行った。

 家庭菜園に柵を設置している鈴鹿市西庄内町の女性(83)は、「収穫できなかった大豆、キャベツ、ハクサイが食べられずに済んだ」と話す。大紀町の農家では、これまで収穫のなかったハクサイが1・7トン収穫できた。研究所ではサルの被害が大きい津市美杉町や伊賀市でも実験を行う予定だ。

(2012年2月5日11時37分 読売新聞)

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