A magical scene

Along many roads in Japan, one can see the road sign which suggests that there can be deer crossing the road.

During the ten days in Hokkaido, we actually saw that scene once, on our way from Shintoku to the Higashi Daisetsu-sō hot spring. The pair of Ezo Deer looked to be a mother and her fawn. It happened in a split second and there was simply no time to grab the camera, but we were really lucky to be able to see the almost magical scene of the deer prancing across the road in the serene forest area.

But during that journey, we were able to take shots of some Japanese red foxes. Unlike the deer, they don't seem to be very scared of people, strolling across and along the road self-assuredly, showing an interest in our vehicle and even letting us pull the car really close to take these pictures:

In different countries, we keep reading or hearing stories about the conflict between human development and protection of wild or endangered animals and the Ezo Deer is no exception. This paragraph is from a publication by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment:

"The Ezo Deer has been increasing in number all over Hokkaido, and in Daisetsuzan region, it is often seen from the road. The increased population has caused damages to agricultural crops, trees, and even to alpine vegetation. There have also been problems such as collisions of cars and the Ezo Deer. The national and local governments have been making efforts such as investigating the damages caused by the deer's feeding, alerting visitors and implementing measures to prevent accidents. The Hokkaido governent is undertaking the population management program for the Ezo Deer."

The name of this program doesn't sit right with me. How they manage the population is anyone's guess. Obviously, this conflict between human and animal interests is a hard one to resolve. Inevitably, it is always the animals who are the big losers.

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