The Brown Bears of Hokkaido, Japan: Program Meeting, Tuesday, October 22, 7:30 pm
The Brown Bears of Hokkaido, Japan: From Gods, to Pests, to Neighbors in 200 years
A presentation by Joe Moll, who has served as the executive director of the McKenzie River Trust since January of 2005.
Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands. In addition to the metropolis of Sapporo, home to 1.8 million people, the island also hosts several thousand brown bears, or higuma, which are directly related to the grizzly bears of North America. Higuma were celebrated and revered by the native Ainu people through the late 19th century. But in the early 20th century, the bears were seen as a dangerous embarrassment by the Japanese government, which had become intent on western-style economic development. Despite tremendous efforts to eradicate the bears, great numbers of higuma persist in close proximity to people. Joe will trace some of that history and discuss efforts today to coexist with bears in Hokkaido and other parts of Japan.
Previous to his current position, Joe worked mostly with grizzly bears and landowners in Montana and Hokkaido, northern Japan. When he’s not working with and for the Trust, he likes to spend as much time as he can running trails and exploring new places outdoors with his wife and three boys. In 1993 Joe conducted research on the history of bear-human interactions in Hokkaido, Japan, for his master’s thesis. He returned to Hokkaido in 1999 for two more years of work with wildlife and land managers. He continues to maintain contacts with his former colleagues there, consulting at times on conservation and public outreach efforts.
The Trust is a non-profit organization founded to protect riparian areas on the McKenzie River that are vital to the river’s biological integrity and water quality. This goal has now expanded to include lands along other rivers in our area.