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Wild Yezo Sika Deer in Notsuke Peninsula!

In this video “Yezo Sika Deer in Notsuke Peninsula(野付半島のエゾシカ)”, created by Shinji Kawamura, you can watch the wild Yezo sika deer, living in herds in the snow of Notsuke Peninsula (野付半島, Notsuke Hanto), Hokkaido.

The Yezo sika deer, which belong to the Cervidae family, is one of many subspecies of the sika deer (the Japanese deer), mainly living in the grasslands of Hokkaido. Its body is bigger than that of the Japanese deer; It is approximately 1.5 meters long and 1.1 meters high. As you can see in this video, the Yezo sika deer has large antlers, which are shed between April and May every year.
Yezo sika deer are herbivorous animals, and they have unique high-pitched calls.

The wild Yezo sika deer shown in this video are from herds living in Notsuke Peninsula, Hokkaido. Notsuke Peninsula is the biggest sand peninsula/sand spit in Japan; It is approximately 26 kilometers long, and located between Shiretoko Peninsula (知床半島, Shiretoko Hanto) and Nemuro Peninsula (根室半島, Nemuro Hanto). Many wild birds, animals, and insects live there. In December, when the grass dies, herds of Yezo sika deer move to their “winter home,”- forests with more coniferous trees and less accumulated snow.

From 0:55 in the video, you can see the Yezo sika deer living in herds in the snow.

The Population of Wild Yezo Sika Deer

Image of Yezo Sika Deer
Photo:Yezo Sika Deer

The population of the Yezo sika deer once decreased dramatically due to hunting and deforestation in the early Meiji Period around 1868. However, after implementing measures to prohibiting over hunting, the population has been increasing.
Each deer eats a large amount of grass every day, so currently there are some problems regarding the damage of crops and forests, and the destruction of the environment.

In addition, as its population has increased, more Yezo sika deers appear in urban areas, which leads to problems of disruptive animals. From 1:33 in the video, you can hear sounds of a car running behind a herd of the Yezo sika deer.
From the video, you can see that the Yezo sika deer lives very closely to humans. The “Yezo Deer Association” was founded in order to maintain a symbiotic relationship with the Yezo sika deer.

Currently people take some measures to control the population of the Yezo sika deer, such as controlled hunting. The captured Yezo sika deer are used in venison dishes, for leather-working, deer fur products, antler products, and so on.
Wild game meat dishes are very expensive in Europe, and venison is said to be healthy and has a unique flavor, so venison dishes are very popular.
Venison is heated thoroughly and cooked into roasted meat or steak to avoid zoonotic diseases and food intoxication.

Where to See the Wild Yezo Sika Deer

Image of Yezo Sika Deer at Notsuke Peninsula
Photo:Yezo Sika Deer at Notsuke Peninsula

Notsuke Peninsula is an area where many wild animals have lived for a long time, even since the era of the Ainu (the native tribes of Hokkaido). It has multiple national forests and the Nationally Designated Special Wildlife Reserve.
At Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center, a hub for sightseeing, you can learn about the natural surroundings and the history of Notsuke Peninsula.

It also provides a wide range of tours, so you can join one of them and go around Notsuke Peninsula. (The tours are a paid attraction and you must book ahead of time).
We cannot guarantee that you can always see the Yezo sika deer as they are wild, but even if you cannot see the deer during the tour, you can still enjoy the wild of Hokkaido to your hearts content.

Overview of the Yezo Sika Deer Introductory Video

The video we introduced this time showed Yezo sika deer living in herds in Hokkaido's wilderness. The video has many fun facts about the Yezo sika deer, such as characteristics of its antlers, the white furs of their hips, and its general habits, so be sure to take a look if you haven't yet!

If you're looking to enjoy Japan's wilderness, look no further than Hokkaido!

【Official Website】Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center Hokkaido Betsukai
http://notsuke.jp/  

【Official Website】Yezo Deer Association
http://yezodeer.org/

Written By
Oct. 1, 2020
Japan
ひろ(HIRO)
I'm a writer who likes to eat good food wherever I go
Hokkaido’s “Yezo Sika Deer”: Magnificent Wild Herds Moving Through the Snow of Notsuke Peninsula! All About the Yezo Sika Deer and Their Problem as a Disruptive Species.
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