Jack the Lizard Wonder World


Rausu town is very unique place in which people and brown bears share the land in Hokkaido, Japan. The town is located at the tip of Shiretoko peninsula in Hokkaido. Since there is still an abundance of wilderness and wildlife, the Shiretoko was designated as the World Natural Heritage Site in 2005. It has been strictly supervised by Ministry of the Environment, Forestry Agency and Hokkaido government since then. Even researchers are not able to enter the site easily without permission. But some people are exceptional.

Jack the Lizard

Hatsusaburou Ose is the chief of the fishery of which base is in Rausu. Every year from May to November he has been opening the base called No.19 for 50 years. He and his fisher men, around 10 people, catch Okhotsk atka mackerel, trout, and salmon during the season. Astonishingly Japanese brown bears have their forage site very close to the base. At first Ose wanted to get rid of bears for safety of his men, but he had found alternative way to live together with bears.

“Bears eat plants and fruits at the mountain slope just behind our base. They appear the beach when we are also working there. Sometimes we have to alert them by making loud and clear voice while staring into their eyes when we encounter bears on the road.” said Ose. No injuries or kill are reported by bears since he has opened the base.

“We just neglect each other. The important thing is that let bears know who the boss is at this place and they knew it” said Ose.

Since wind blow from the sea to the mountain, bears detect smell of carcass of whales and dolphins. A mother and cubs even swim into the sea to reach out a carcass. Gammaridea (shrimp-like crustacean) found at the beach are also important diet for bears. One day Ose saw that a sloth of bears was eating two carcasses of whale. “About 70 of them were there. Seemingly strong male ate first and cubs were last. Only two days they took to clean those two carcasses” said Ose.